Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Assessor: Property Values Up 10-25 Pct. Reassessment Notices Sent, Zimmerman Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Assessor: Property Values Up 10-25 Pct. Reassessment Notices Sent, Zimmerman Says

Article excerpt

Reassessment notices are in the mail this week. Property owners will see an increase in real estate values "of 10 percent in some neighborhoods to 25 percent in others," says St. Charles County Assessor Gene Zimmerman.

"Property values just keep going up," he said. "St. Charles County is where everybody is moving. We're still growing, and when that happens, property values go up."

Despite the big jump in assessments, however, Zimmerman said local taxing jurisdictions - cities, school districts, library, fire districts and the like - are required by law to roll back their tax rates so that their income from taxes remains about the same as the preceding year. The only allowance for an increase in income for taxing entities, he said, is the percentage of the consumer price index, which has been running at about 3 percent. An example of how a taxing entity could get away with not rolling back its tax rate, Zimmerman said, is if a governing body for a city or school district or a fire protection district "might call a public meeting and nobody shows up, so they do what they want to do." He added, "We're always a little suspicious that some won't roll back anything. It's up to the taxpayer to challenge their actions. It's not up to me." The assessor's office is required every odd-numbered year to reassess all real property in the county. It's an ongoing job, Zimmerman said, and requires a staff of about 50 to do the appraisal, calculating and paper work. The state constitution requires that the values on property reflect fair market value, Zimmerman said. A definition of "market value," he said, "is the amount that both a buyer and a seller can reasonably agree to, knowing the conditions of the market." Zimmerman made it clear that his office has no control over how much a taxing jurisdiction rolls back its tax rate. …

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