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St. Louis County sees huge spike in property-assessment appeals

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 9, 2011 - St. Louis County has seen an unexpectedly sharp increase in the number of home owners challenging their latest assessments, prompting county officials to ask the County Council Tuesday to appropriate an additional $63,000 to handle the 18,000 appeals filed.

The county's current budget had earmarked money for only 14,000 appeals, said county Revenue Director Eugene Leung in his formal request for the additional money. The request has been forwarded by County Executive Charlie Dooley to the entire council and is in the file of communications for Tuesday's meeting.

The 14,000 estimate assumed 2,000 fewer appeals than in 2009, Leung wrote. Officials expected that many homeowners would be satisified with their assessments because of lower property assessments for many homes.

But apparently, thousands of property owners are not happy with their newest property assessments.

The added money is needed to cover the costs of the county's Board of Equalization, which is charged with handling the appeals. The board has to increase the hours of its hearing officers and must hire temporary clerical workers, Leung wrote.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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