‘They’re asking for help’ St. Charles County to freeze property taxes for seniors 62 and older

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 10:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The St. Charles County Council pumped the brakes on property taxes for seniors on Monday.

The council voted unanimously to freeze the property taxes for anybody over 62.

It’s a big deal for seniors such as Walter Trost.

“On top of my head, it’s about 800 dollars more than what I paid last year,” said Trost.

Trost has been living in his St. Charles home for over 20 years, and now he’s on a fixed income, but his property taxes have continued to climb.

He said his property taxes raised 19% this year, forcing him and his wife to make tough decisions.

“Instead of going to the grocery store and spending $60, you try to keep it down to $50. It affects everything you do,” Trost said.

Monday, he got some relief.

The new law will allow anybody 62 years old and older to pay the same property taxes that they will in 2024 for either the remaining years of their life or until their home is sold.

Residents can only choose their primary residence and must apply for tax credits next year. They will lock in their home values for years to come until they sell their home or pass away.

“The inflation over the last few years has put this issue front and center,” said County Executive Steve Ehlmann.

Ehlmann reiterated they’re not lowering seniors’ taxes, just keeping them the same. But this may not be the end of the road.

“We could get sued next week, I don’t know, maybe we won’t,” said Ehlmann.

The tax freeze also means taxes are locked for school districts as well, so less revenue will be going toward Francis Howell and Wentzville schools.

They could respond by suing.

First Alert 4 reached out to both districts, and a spokesperson for Francis Howell said they had no statement but are monitoring the vote closely. Wentzville has yet to respond back.

Ehlmann pointed to consistent new development of homes and businesses in St. Charles County and said all the development in the county defrays some of the cost to them and the schools.

“I think St. Charles County will be fine because they’ll continue to grow and continue to get more revenue because there’s more new construction,” said Ehlmann.

At least two other counties in Missouri, Greene and Camden County, have passed this already. St. Charles is now the biggest to do so and the only one in the St. Louis region.

Ehlmann initially had apprehensions about the bill, unsure of exactly how it would be implemented and if they could freeze taxes for other political subdivisions, like public schools.

And St. Louis County has already denied this tax freeze. But Councilmember Dennis Hancock introduced another bill recently and told First Alert 4 he’s working to find a compromise solution sometime later this month. He said there will be a meeting in late September and a substitute bill to follow.