St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman answers questions during a packed town hall meeting addressing rising property values in the county on Thursday, June 20, 2019, at the Pavilion at Lemay.
Photo by Laurie Skrivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Jeremy Kohler of St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
ST. LOUIS COUNTY — Real estate is on fire. Home prices are on the rise. But when those values are used to determine tax bills, homeowners get skeptical when the government says their home is worth more than they think it is.
Consider Ryan and Rachel Roe. They bought an 846-square-foot house in Kirkwood in 2010 for $128,500.
Real estate in Kirkwood has grown in value since then. In 2017, the St. Louis County assessor’s office appraised it at $142,000. With two young children now, the couple recently listed the 124-year-old, two-bedroom, one-bath home on Alice Avenue as a “for sale by owner,” asking $240,000. There were no takers.
This spring, the Roes received their notice of reassessment from St. Louis County. The assessor’s office placed a new value on the house: $358,700.
That’s a 153% increase from the assessment two years ago.
“We feel like we are being ripped off by the county,” said Ryan Roe, who works for the U.S. Department of Defense. He said the couple had not made any upgrades to the house; in fact, they would like to tear it down and rebuild on their lot but legislation that would allow them to do that has been pending in Kirkwood for several months. “I think I can show enough solid evidence with the recent sales in that area to show their numbers are completely inflated.”
For many people, reassessment is their only connection to local government. It can bring out strong feelings. That’s perhaps never been truer. Most homeowners did not see nearly as large a bump as the Roe family, but almost everyone saw an increase in the value of their home.
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