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Spay/Neuter Fees:Dogs - Spay/neuter fee is based on sliding scale, depending on the animal's weight.Cats - Spay $40 / Neuter $30
Registration tags are $5.
The redemption fees for cats consist of a $10.00 impoundment fee, and a $8.00 per day board fee. If the animal isn’t currently spayed or neutered at the time of impoundment, there is an additional spay/neuter fee assessed.
If the complainant knows who the owner of the cat(s) is, the owner may receive a summons for allowing their cat to cause a nuisance.
If a nuisance exists due to the owner’s failure to remove the waste, or because of a large number of animals in a small enclosure, the complainant may sign a complaint against the animal owner. The owner may then be summons to appear in Municipal Court.
The current city ad valorem tax rate is: $1.1398 per $100.00 of assessed valuation.
General Fund (inc Public Safety Tax): 67.00 centsParks & Recreation Fund: 20.00 centsHealth Fund: 21.95 centsMuseum Fund: 5.00 centsTotal: $1.1395
Buchanan County has set the assessed value of a residential property at 19% of its fair market value. The City’s tax levy is taken times this assessed valuation. So, for example: An individual who owns a home with an actual value of $100,000 would pay the following to the City: $100,000 x 19% = $ 19,000 assessed valuation. $19,000 divided by $100 = $ 190.00 x $1.1398 = $216.56 (City Real Estate Property Tax)
8.7%. There are also some additional jurisdictions within the City of St. Joseph assessing sales taxes. For a breakdown, please see
- Individual Funds’ CIP projects (these projects include certain smaller Street projects, some Park improvements, Sewer improvements, basically any capital project paid for out of a specific fund’s dollars).- CIP Sales Tax Projects (projects paid for out of the one-half cent capital improvements sales tax).
Large Sewer CIP projects are financed by revenue bonds approved by a vote of the citizens as well as through bonds approved through development boards. The annual bond payments are included in the overall rates charged to customers.
Several years ago, improvements to the Parking Garages, Health Department, Parks Department facility, and Landfill facility were financed using PBA (Public Building Authority) issued bonds. Annual payments are authorized from the existing revenue streams of the funds in which the improvement occurred.
By State statute, the City is permitted, by vote of 2/3rds majority, to incur General Obligation (GO) debt in the amount not to exceed 20% of the assessed value of the City.
In order to be sure that monies received are spent as legally required the City sets up different Funds (like separate bank accounts) to keep track of where the money comes from and how it is spent. This is verified every year during an audit by independent, outside auditors.
The building permit process helps us understand what our local laws and ordinances require. Before any construction or remodeling work begins, application for a permit should be made to Building Development Services. Building permits provide the means for code officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used.
• site plan• foundation plan• approved storm water management plan• grading plan• 5 acres or more requires a Land Disturbance Permit to be filed with the DNR• parking plan• approved driveway access plans• underground utilities
1. Occupational License- obtained through the Customer Assistance Department, 1100 Frederick Ave., Room 106, 816-271-4751.2. A copy of your Workmans Compensation Insurance. In addition to the Workmans Compensation Insurance all Master Electrician and Plumbers must carry a $2,000.00 bond. It will be necessary that they provide a copy of that bond and liability insurance to the Building Development Services Department at City Hall 1100 Frederick Ave Room 106, St. Joseph, MO 64501.
All subcontractors must have a current Occupational License with the City of St. Joseph.
Every other Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at the City Hall, 1100 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, Missouri. The meetings are shown live on cable channel 19 and streamed live here.
During a heavy rain the pipes may get too full and start to overflow into the Missouri River. When this happens, it's called a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). This provides a "safety valve" that prevents back-ups of untreated wastewater into homes and businesses, flooding in city streets, or bursting underground pipes.
The Combined Sewer System was built as St. Joseph grew during the early 1970's, as an economical way to handle wastewater and stormwater. One advantage of this system is that most of the time, when rainfall is low to moderate, both the stormwater and wastewater go to the treatment plant.
The CSO locations were left in place when the present sewer system was updated to act as safety valves when the pipes get too full to handle the high volume of water during heavy rains. The advantage of a combined sewer system is that both stormwater and wastewater are treated most of the time. The disadvantage is that during heavy rains, untreated stormwater and wastewater may be discharged at CSO locations. In fact, there are far fewer overflows now than in the past due to construction projects to control the overflows.
One way to eliminate CSOs would be to add a separate system of pipes to drain stormwater directly to the rivers. Again, this would be very expensive and would also release untreated stormwater in all storms, which would add chemicals from surface runoff to the water bodies.
Open burning guidelines:
Applications are only accepted online. To view the current available jobs, visit the job postings page.
In the fall/winter we hire scorekeepers, referees, adult league referees and gym supervisors. All must be at least 16 years of age (except for scorekeepers who must be at least 15) and bring in a copy of their birth certificate if they are under 19.
The process works differently for Parks & Recreation seasonal employees as well as Police Officer and Firefighters. If you applied for a seasonal position, those applications are screened by the Parks Department.
If you applied for a Police Officer or Firefighter position, there is a physical agility test, written test as well as background checks and other criteria, which must be met prior to further consideration being given.
Police and Fire applicants are initially ranked according to written scores. The department will schedule oral interviews. The number of interviews is dependent on the number requested by the hiring department. Therefore, all applicants may not necessarily be interviewed. Other steps in the process are conducted at various times such as background checks. Once a candidate has successfully completed all steps in the process they are put on an eligibility list for up to one year. At any time during the year, the department has the option of hiring anyone from the list in any order.
There is a Liability Claim Form available in the Risk Management Office, Room 307, City Hall. The form must be filled out and submitted along with two estimates of any damages being claimed. The information is then submitted to the Risk Manager or Claims Technician in the Legal Department, who then processes it through the city’s insurance carrier for review and determination. The city makes no promise/guarantee of payment of any claim. For further information, please contact the Risk Manager at 816-271-4671 or the Claims Technician at 816-271-4739.
*NOTE: The Buchanan County Prosecutor has a separate office and prosecutes more serious offenses charged under State law, which include violent crimes, felonies, most drug-related offenses, serious assaults, and repeat DWI offenses. The Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney's Office also prosecutes traffic and speeding tickets and other violations outside City limits. All bad check charges are handled by the County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
The Judge cannot discuss a pending case. You must see the Judge during regular court session at 8am or 10:00am, on a first come, first serve basis.
Court is in session at 8:00 am (for arraignments) and 10:00 am (for trials) Monday through Friday. Cases are heard in the order that individuals check in. Code violations and Animal Control cases are heard at 1:00 pm on Wednesdays. The Clerk’s window opens at 7:30 am each day for defendant check-in. You must pass through the courtroom and turn left to find the Clerk’s window. Drop-ins after 8:00 am will have to reschedule. Those arriving earlier are inserted with the day's docket. Visitors paying in person may pay during regular court office hours 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The city’s planning & zoning division is responsible for citywide planning and zoning administration, regulating subdivisions, and administering a comprehensive land use plan for the city, enforcing & implementing the existing subdivision and zoning codes (Chapter 26 and Chapter 31). Planning & Zoning also works closely with other departments, including Building and Public Works or project proposals and reviews, and Property Maintenance for code enforcement.
Planning & zoning reviews and issues permits for the following:
Planning & Zoning also reviews and processes all applications for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Planning Commission, and Downtown Review Board, including:
Applications and permits can be found online or in the Planning & Zoning office.
Planning & Zoning does not directly issue permits for applications for accessory structures, swimming pools, solar panels, additions, new residences, commercial projects, etc. but permit applications for these projects are reviewed by Planning & Zoning to ensure compliance with Chapters 26 and 31.
A subdivision or plat is one or more parcels of land that have gone through the subdivision process outlined in Chapter 26 and are recorded as a “lot of record” with Buchanan County. This creates a recorded “plat” or map of a property showing important information like property lines, utility and access easements, drainage, etc. Properties are typically required to be platted for development and permits to be issued for any project on that piece of land. Properties that are not platted would need to go through the subdivision or platting process.
A common misunderstanding is hearing the word “subdivision” can bring to mind large residential subdivision developments. This is not usually what the city means when using this word. In this case, a subdivision simply means the division of land (in many cases only one piece of property) into legal lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels. Neither is incorrect, but one specifically refers to the process utilized by the city.
Platting is the process of creating a “lot of record” with Buchanan County through the city’s subdivision process outlined in Chapter 26. This creates a recorded “plat” or map of a lot or lots showing important information like property lines, utility and access easements, drainage, etc. Platting a property requires working with a surveyor and submitting a plat document and application to the city for review. Platting can be considered one of the first steps in development of a property, along with zoning.
The City has two subdivision processes:
The Planning & Zoning division can provide more information about the platting process and requirements.
For property that is already platted, you can submit a Lot Line Adjustment Application. This application allows applicants to split existing lots, combine existing lots, or adjust boundary lines on existing lots, within limits outlined in Chapter 26. Applications require a survey and are submitted to the Planning & Zoning office for review and approval. Approved lot line adjustments may be recorded with Buchanan County.
The city does not provide surveying services. For applications that require surveying services, it is important to do your research and explore all cost and service options available to you. You can contact the Planning & Zoning division for more information.
A property’s zoning determines what uses are permitted on the property and helps guide development. For example, most properties along the Belt are zoned “C-3, Commercial” allowing for uses like restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Zoning districts also determine things like setback requirements for buildings, height requirements, parking requirements, landscaping, and more. Information on every zoning district in St. Joseph can be found in Chapter 31 of the City Code.
Some parts of St. Joseph are in special zoning districts such as Downtown, which is in the Downtown Precise Plan district. These special districts have certain development standards that regulate more specifically than the standard zoning districts. Information on Precise Plans can be found online.
It is helpful to know information about what your property is zoned, as it determines the use and regulation of your property.
Rezoning (Zoning District Change) is the process of changing the zoning of a property from one district to another, i.e.: M-2 Heavy Manufacturing to R-1A, Single Family Residential, to allow new uses or development on a property that otherwise would not have been allowed before, or for reasons specific to a particular piece of land, such as a property historically being industrial but is now used as a residential property.
A rezoning starts with completing the Zoning District Change Application. Once the application has been received by the appropriate deadline, it is placed on a Planning Commission agenda and from there it would move onto City Council for approval or denial. If approved, the zoning district will officially be changed in the city’s records.
There are several ways to find out information about properties in St. Joseph. The city and county offer a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) web portal that allows you to search addresses and find out more about them, including info like zoning.
To turn on the zoning layer:
This will allow you to see current zoning of properties in the city and county. All properties in the city are zoned a specific district. Information on zoning districts and their permitted and conditional uses can be found in Chapter 31 of the City Code.
You can search for a specific address via the toolbar along the top:
Zoning determines what kind of structure can be built on a property and what regulations there are including setbacks, height limits, façade, and more depending on the zoning district. For example, residential zoning districts may have more restrictive setback requirements than commercial districts to promote separation between houses. These regulations also determine accessory structure setbacks and height, fence height, signs, and other uses within the city.
If a property is not zoned correctly, it will prohibit the construction of any nonconforming use on that property, potentially requiring a rezoning of that property.
A fence permit application can either be obtained in Room 107 of City Hall, or online, on the Planning & Zoning Applications & Permits page. The rules for fences, including material and height requirements, are outlined in Chapter 31.
The city does not require an official survey for a fence permit application; however, the city does require a site plan, showing the location of the fence on the property (these do not have to be done by a contractor or other professional).
The city recommends that all fences be built at least a foot into the property off of the property lines. This can help avoid disputes with neighbors and confusion of who owns the fence. If you plan to build on the property line, the city requires the signature of the owner of the shared property and the permit application be notarized.
The city does not enforce HOA requirements for fences within HOAs. If you are a member of an HOA it is important to check any regulations your HOA may have regarding fencing before applying for a fence permit.
For requirements regarding the fencing of vacant lots, please contact the city directly for more information on how to apply for a fence permit.
Fences that do not or cannot meet requirements outlined in the code would either be denied a permit or could proceed by obtaining a variance or exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
A pool permit application can either be obtained in Room 107 of City Hall, or online, on the Planning & Zoning Applications & Permits page. The rules for pools are outlined in Chapter 31 of the City Code, and are applicable for all residential areas.
When applying for a pool permit, the city requires a site plan showing the location of the pool on the property with measurements to nearby buildings and property lines (this does not have to be done by a contractor or other professional).
Any pool, in-ground or above-ground, over two feet in depth requires a fence with locking gate.
Pools that do not or cannot meet requirements outlined in the code would either be denied a permit or could proceed by obtaining a variance or exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The city defines buildings such as garages, sheds, etc. as “accessory buildings”. These are buildings that are “accessory” to a primary structure, usually a house. The city regulates accessory buildings through Sec. 31-050 of the City Code, including setback requirements, height limits, etc.
The city does not permit accessory structures on vacant lots. Accessory buildings must be accessory to a primary structure on the same property.
Structures over 120 square feet are required to obtain a building permit through the city’s building department. Any accessory buildings applying to be permitted would require a site plan showing the location of the building in relation to nearby buildings and property lines (this does not have to be done by a contractor or other professional).
Structures that do not or cannot meet requirements outlined in the code would either be denied a permit or could proceed by obtaining a variance or exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Sign permit applications are found online, as well as sign regulations for both residential and nonresidential areas of the city. To obtain a permit, submit the application to the Planning & Zoning department along with a site plan, images of the proposed signage, and any other supporting materials.
Some areas of the city, such as Precise Plan areas, have specific sign regulations that must be adhered to. If any sign application does not conform to the sign code, or the applicable Precise Plan regulations, then the sign would either not be permitted or could be potentially approved through the application for an exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
A site plan is a prepared document similar to a map that shows the property where a project is taking place and several elements that allows the document to be reviewed for permitting. This information includes existing buildings, proposed buildings, required setbacks, proposed setbacks, dimensions, and other information specific to the application.
Site plans do not have to be professionally drafted, but they do have to be legible. Site plans that are difficult or impossible to read delay the permitting process and may result in a project not being approved at all.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment, also known as ZBA or BZA, reviews and makes decisions on variance and exception applications within the city. They review applications and make a determination on whether the proposed structure would be appropriate and if the request is reasonable and supported by the application provided.
Applications for the ZBA can be found online and are submitted to the City Planner to be placed on a ZBA hearing agenda. It is recommended that applicants meet with the City Planner prior to any applications being submitted to determine the best course of action.
A variance can be described as official permission from the city to allow something to be constructed or put in use within certain parameters that otherwise does not meet the standards of the City Code. For example, an applicant who wants to build an attached garage within required setbacks would need to request a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) and in their application explain why they are making this request. The ZBA reviews this application and makes a decision.
An exception is similar to a variance, but focused specifically on signs, parking, fences, telecommunications towers, and accessory uses. Like a variance, an applicant would need to request an exception from the ZBA explaining the reason for the request, and the ZBA would make a decision on the application.
More information on variances and exceptions, including the full description of application requirements and procedures can be found online.
The Planning Commission reviews applications for zoning district changes (including Precise Plans and Planned Unit Developments), major subdivisions, code amendments, and generally all major planning documents adopted by the city. For most applications (zoning, subdivisions, code amendments, etc.) the Planning Commission provides a recommendation that is forwarded to the City Council who has final approval.
Applications for the Planning Commission can be found online and are submitted to the City Planner to be placed on a Planning Commission hearing agenda. It is recommended that applicants meet with the City Planner prior to any applications being submitted to determine the best course of action.
The Downtown Review Board (or DRB) is the reviewing body for applications for certificates of appropriateness for projects taking place within downtown St. Joseph. The downtown area has specific regulations outlined within the Downtown Precise Plan document, and any variation from this document requires a certificate of appropriateness (or COA) from the DRB to move forward. This body is similar to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in this respect, though the scope is limited to the downtown area.
Applications for the DRB can be found online and are submitted to the City Planner to be placed on a DRB hearing agenda. It is recommended that applicants meet with the City Planner prior to any applications being submitted to determine the best course of action.
If it is a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911. If not, call 816-271-4777. Not all reports require an officer respond and can be made by phone with our Teleserve Division during regular business hours by calling 816-271-4777. Many reports can also be made online at your convenience.
You can obtain police reports at the Law Enforcement Center, 501 Faraon Street in St. Joseph, Missouri. Police Records is open Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. You may call them at (816) 271-4705.
The police Traffic Unit investigates hit and run accidents. If you have a question in regards to your case please call (816) 271-4882. This process may take 5 to 7 business days, so please be patient.
To be a police officer, applicants must be at least 21 years of age with no felony convictions. In addition, they should not have any significant traffic convictions that would limit their ability to be insured by the City of St. Joseph. For more information on Missouri Police Officer requirements, visit the Missouri POST website.
To check for Police Officer openings, visit the City of St. Joseph Careers web page.
The inspector conducts an inspection of the property to determine whether or not a code violation exists. If a code violation is verified, the inspector mails a legal notice letter to the property owner to request the code violation be corrected. The legal notice letter for common code violations provides a 10 day period of time for the property owner to correct the violation. At the end of this period, the inspector will re-inspect the property to determine whether or not the code violation has been corrected. If the code violation has not been corrected and the property owner has not requested an extension of time from the inspector, the inspector will proceed to issue a summons or order abatement. Extensions of time to correct the code violation are limited and require a plan of abatement and continuous progress. The owners of properties where weeds and rank growths of vegetation violations occur more than once during the same or successive growing seasons will receive one legal notice letter at the beginning of the growing season. Further violations regarding weeds and rank growths of vegetation during that growing season will be abated without notification. Weeds and tall grasses are in violation when they reach the height 7 inches.
When the city expends any funds in the abatement of any nuisance, the director of finance, or his or her designee, shall notify, by certified mail, the person against whose property the costs were incurred of said costs. The director of Planning and Community Development shall certify the costs incurred in abating the nuisance and administratively processing the nuisance to the director of finance, together with the description of the property. The cost of administratively processing the abatement to the director of finance shall be $75.00 per regular abatement action, $200.00 for large special bids and $600.00 for railroad bids. The person notified shall have 30 days from the mailing of said notice within which to pay the costs of the abatement to the director of finance. If the person so notified fails to pay the costs of the abatement within 30 days, the director of finance shall immediately, upon the receipt of this information, enter an assessment in the appropriate books of the city to be kept for that purpose; and upon the entry of this assessment a lien will attach to the property.
Any person who has been found guilty of violating this section shall be required to pay a minimum fine of $25.00 for the first offense. Any person who has been found guilty of violating this section a second time during the same 12 month period shall pay a minimum fine of $50.00. Any person who is found guilty of violating this section a third time during the same 12 month period shall be fined a minimum of $150.00. Any person who is found guilty of violating this section four or more times during the same 12 month period shall be fined a minimum of $300.00 for the fourth offense and each subsequent offense. If a person is charged and found guilty of more than one offense on the same day, then all such offenses on that day, for purposes of this section, shall be counted as one violation.
It is the vendor’s responsibility to notify the Purchasing Division of any changes in its ownership, officers and/or address at the time the change occurs.
Failure to accept the contract and/or furnish the commodities or services offered will cause the amount of the bid security to revert to the City.
If a performance bond is required in the Invitation for Bid, the successful bidder’s security will be held until a performance bond in the amount stated in the Invitation for Bid is received by the Purchasing Division.
Sewer customers in Sewer Districts outside the City limits are billed a different rate than City residents.
Country Club Village residential accounts are billed and collected by the City of St. Joseph. Rates are determined by Country Club Village Board of Aldermen.
Commercial and industrial charges are based upon actual usage monthly.
Sewer surcharge customers are billed monthly separately based on actual usage, along with surcharges for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Suspended Solids (SS) and Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG). Wholesale customers are billed at the wholesale rates.
Missouri American Water provides weekly file downloads into the City billing software. The goal of the City’s Utility Billing Division is to get bills out within five (5) business days of each download.
Any closure will require proper signing and barricading. Traffic Control Plans will be drawn up for the closure. Because of the increasing requests for seasonal work, 24-hour to 48-hour advanced notice should be given to allow for inspecting the area and drawing up the plans.