Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Research Park Tax Dispute Is Continuing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Research Park Tax Dispute Is Continuing

Article excerpt

The dispute over whether certain businesses at the Missouri Research Park are tax-exempt is far from over, says St. Charles County Assessor Gene Zimmerman.

Although the county Board of Equalization ruled Tuesday that two of the businesses in the 750-acre Research Park near Weldon Spring are exempt from 1994 real estate taxes, Zimmerman said he intended to return the two businesses to the tax rolls this year along with other businesses that have sprung up at the park in the last year.

"We'll be going through this again on a much larger scale," Zimmerman said. He noted, for example, that a golf course, which was exempted from paying taxes last year, will be assessed this year at full value by his office.

This action is certain to spark new appeals from the University of Missouri, which owns the park. The appeals will go again to the Board of Equalization.

But Zimmerman hopes the matter will wind up in court, where a final answer may be provided.

Another solution, Zimmerman said, may be amending the state law defining what properties are tax-exempt.

On Tuesday, the Board of Equalization voted 2-0 to exempt the Zoltec Corp. from paying the county 1994 taxes amounting to $48,431.71. Zimmerman's office had assessed the company's leased real-estate value at $687,950.

By the same vote, the board exempted Collier Properties - also known as Puritan and Bennett and Missouri Research Partners - from paying $36,346.83. The property, only half-completed when it was assessed Jan. 1 of last year, was assessed by Zimmerman's office at $516,290.

Late last year, the Board of Equalization also had exempted the 235-acre Missouri Bluffs Golf Course from taxes. The golf course's leasehold was assessed at $243,518, an assessment that would have yielded tax revenue of $15,853.15.

Thus, if Zimmerman's assessments had been upheld, revenue from the three businesses would have totaled more than $100,600, much of which would have gone to the Francis Howell School District. …

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