Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a report of the BaratHaven Community Improvement District (CID) in Dardenne Prairie. The audit details how the district has improperly imposed and collected property taxes since it was established in 2006.
"Special taxing districts like CIDs must be held accountable for how public dollars are collected and spent," Auditor Galloway said. "In this case, lack of oversight led to a critical error that left residents paying thousands in extra taxes. It's imperative these citizens are refunded their money."
The district was established in 2006 to construct public infrastructure improvements and facilitate a residential and commercial development. It has been funded through $1.6 million in notes with the developers to be repaid by property taxes on those living and owning businesses within the district.
The audit found the CID and St. Charles County failed to certify the tax rate with the State Auditor's Office, as required by state law to ensure rates are properly calculated. Since 2006, the CID imposed and collected $1.3 million in property taxes that didn't comply with state law. The property tax rate also exceeded the allowable rate in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, resulting in $34,397 in excess collections. The CID also failed to identify errors in the tax rolls that resulted in four commercial properties not paying property taxes to the taxing district.
The report also found that the taxing district has failed to generate enough revenue to make required principal and interest payments on the project. Plans for retail and office space within the development did not materialize, leaving the CID reliant on property taxes paid by residents to repay the loan.
In addition to the CID, the development also has a Transportation Development District (TDD) layered on top of it. A combined $4.2 million was spent by the two districts, but there is no documentation to show that CID funding was not spent on transportation costs that should have been funded by the TDD.
A complete copy of the report is available here.
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