Property Taxes | St. Louis Public Radio

Property Taxes

The Doe Run Company operates several lead mines in the Ozarks, including the West Fork Mine in Reynolds County. A dispute over the value of Doe Run's mines resulted in a large drop in property tax revenue for area schools.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

In a single phone call on an afternoon in June, Superintendent Kent Sherrow learned that his Iron County C-4 School District would lose nearly a quarter of its budget. Doe Run Mining Company had contested its property tax assessment, lopping off more than $1 million from the Ozark school district’s revenue.

“It’s not the same district it was a year ago,” Sherrow said. “Right now, our whole district is in a situation where we’ve got to catch our breath and get our feet back under us.”

Houses along Holly Hills in St. Louis. May 24, 2019.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

If you own a home or business in St. Louis or St. Louis County, you may have received a letter about your property's value going up.

Residential property values on average went up 12% in the city and 15% in the county, according to assessors’ preliminary calculations.

That’s mostly good news, said St. Louis Assessor Michael Dauphin. Increasing property values mean that real estate investments are worth more. But for some, they could also mean higher tax bills.

Many homeowners are using services like Airbnb to make some extra cash, while the option is becoming more popular among travelers
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis assessor’s office on Friday sent out letters to the owners of 235 properties listed on Airbnb, informing them that their property value — and taxes — are going up.

The properties have been reclassified from residential to commercial, taking their property tax rate from 19% to 32%.

St. Louis Assessor Michael Dauphin said his office combed through hundreds of properties listed on Airbnb to find ones they believe are commercial enterprises, where the owner lives off-site. They found that the owners of more than half of the reclassified properties live outside of St. Louis, in states as far as California, Colorado and Arizona.

Funding for the St. Louis City Senior Fund comes from a property tax approved by city voters in November 2016. So far, the fund has awarded grants to 17 local nonprofits.

Two years ago, St. Louis voters approved a property tax that funds assistance programs for older adults.

The St. Louis City Senior Fund, which administers the tax-generated revenue, awarded $800,000 dollars this year to local nonprofits. The organizations provide a range of free services for older adults to help them continue living in their homes.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner met with business owners in Edwardsville, Illinois on January 16.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged Tuesday to help small business owners by addressing “punishing” high property taxes and “too many” regulations.

Calling taxes and regulations burdens that drive small businesses to the neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana, Rauner said he wants to curtail them to bring businesses back.

“Every challenge we face in Illinois could be overcome if we have faster economic growth,” Rauner said after speaking to business owners in Edwardsville.

House for sale
Paul Sableman | Flickr

The St. Louis County Assessor's office has started informal conferences with property owners concerned their taxes are too high.

Assessor Jake Zimmerman says the average county property value has gone up roughly 7 percent, compared to the last review a couple of years ago. He attributes the increase, in part, to a hotter real estate market, with properties selling faster and for more money.  

Photo of 25 Street and Maiden Lane, within the footprint of the Northside Regeneration project.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee owns more than 1,500 acres on the north side of St. Louis, but for the last two years he has not paid property taxes on nearly any of it.

In examining real estate property taxes, St. Louis Public Radio discovered McKee’s company, Northside Regeneration LLC, owes the city more than $750,000 in taxes for 2013 and 2014. That total includes nearly $120,000 in interest and penalties.

The developer acknowledged the tax bill and said it would get paid.

ZMD Sets 2014 Tax Rates And Continues Discussion On Admission

Sep 29, 2014
Board members easily agreed to setting tax rate but debated value of allowing subdistricts to charge admission fees to non St. Louis City or County residents.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Tensions among Zoo-Museum District board members appear to have faded over the last year. The board met Monday to discuss the 2014 subdistrict tax rates, hear reports from committees and the executive director, and discuss past and future business of the board. 

Board members -- Robert Lowery appeared by speaker phone and Gloria Wessels was absent -- voted unanimously to approve an 8 cent property tax on behalf of the St. Louis Art Museum and the Zoo. The board voted to approve a 3.99 cent property tax for The Science Center, Botanical Gardens and Missouri History Museum.

(Flickr/Charleston's TheDigitel)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to give Illinois homeowners’ a guaranteed $500 property tax refund could leave most renters out in the cold, according to tax experts and renters’ rights groups.

St. Louis County Assessor's Office

The St. Louis County Assessor’s Office will undertake a review of all tax-exempt properties in the county to confirm their owners still qualify for the tax break.

Exemptions have been granted to thousands of non-profit groups because their properties are used for charitable, religious or educational purposes, but some of them no longer qualify, said County Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

Commentary: Disparity Among School Districts

Oct 14, 2013

In Missouri, as in most states, public schools are administered by local school boards.  The boundaries of school districts are drawn in accordance with state law. Schools are funded primarily through local property taxes. Districts with higher per capita incomes tend to have better schools.  The districts most in danger of losing their accreditation tend to be those with lower per capita incomes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 30, 2013: Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District voted Monday for the maximum tax rates for the five institutions that get public support, including the Missouri History Museum, but they also talked about changes needed in the district to make sure tax subsidies remain sufficient in the future.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2013 - Critics of the Missouri History Museum plan to try again on Monday to cut the amount of tax money it receives, but supporters say that changes adopted over the past year show that any problems with the museum’s operations are history.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 24, 2013: St. Louis County residential property owners who have seen an increase in their 2013 property values should expect to receive notices in the mail within the week, says county Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

Nothing will be sent to owners of property that has seen no change, or a decline in value, the assessor’s office said in a statement issued Friday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although some experts report that the region’s real estate market seems to be settling down, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman today reports that wasn’t necessarily the case for the county – where median residential property values have dropped by 7 percent, compared to the last reassessment in 2011.

(via Flickr/kevindooley)

A mistake by the St. Louis County Department of Revenue will cost the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District about $2 million in expected tax revenue.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that employees at the department failed to add a surcharge to about 200,000 property tax bills. The revenue generated by the additional tax helps MSD control storm water runoff inside Interstate 270.

Mo. Lt. Gov. Kinder paying property tax penalty

Jul 23, 2012
(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's campaign says he will pay a penalty for missing a tax bill on property he owns in Cape Girardeau.

Property tax records show Kinder owes $192 of taxes plus $42 of penalties and interest for the 2011 tax year. Campaign manager Logan Thompson said Kinder had been unaware of the bill but would pay it Monday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 26, 2012 - St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman offered up an I-told-you-so moment with today’s announcement that he’s renewing his fight to increase sharply the appraised value for the Harrah’s Casino complex in Maryland Heights.

Zimmerman said in a statement that he is hiking Harrah’s total appraised value to $502.4 million – the same figure that he had unsuccessfully sought in 2011.  Harrah’s had appealed the appraisal to the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which slashed the assessed value to $215 million (a drop of $287.4 million).

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Tax Day can be a tough time for anyone, but it’s especially hard for seniors facing rising personal property taxes on a fixed income. That’s according to some local lawmakers who are asking the state to give seniors a break.

State Representatives Jill Shupp and Scott Sifton are pushing two bills in Missouri’s legislature to help seniors:

(via Flickr/kenteegardin)

A statewide review of tax rates issued today by Missouri auditor Tom Schweich finds that residents in six St. Louis-area districts are paying too much in property taxes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2011 - St. Louis County's Board of Equalization decided Tuesday to stick with its new assessment for Harrah's casino in Maryland Heights, but to revert to the 2010 assessment for Pinnacle's River City casino in Lemay.

The board's decision came as it rejected county Assessor Jake Zimmerman's higher assessments for both properties, while altering its own much lower assessment for River City.

(via Wikimedia Commons/RamblingGambler)

Updated at 5:20pm with comments from hearing, more details.

The board that hears appeals from St. Louis County taxpayers on the value of their home or business has reversed  its decision to reduce the value of River City Casino in Lemay.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Updated 5:32 p.m. with reaction from the Mo. House Speaker

A measure that sharply reduces the amount of tax credits available to support the creation of an international cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is in the hands of the Missouri House.

The State Senate approved the measure this morning.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2011 - St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says the county's decline in property values is forcing him to call for a 2.3-cent increase in the county's property tax rate for 2012. The extra costs to the typical property owner will be modest, Dooley said -- amounting to an increase of $6.14 a year for the owner of a house valued at $140,000.

Commentary: Are differing tax rates a de facto voucher system?

Aug 11, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 11, 2011 - This is a tale of two neighborhoods. Both St. Louis suburban neighborhoods are impressive, and outwardly they look like twins. Hampton Park and Lake Forest sit on opposite sides of Hanley Road between Clayton Road and Highway 40, and they both boast large, stately homes. They are equidistant from the region's central business districts. With two exceptions, they have the same level and quality of public services and the same tax rates. With so many similarities, you might assume property values would be the same. But you would be wrong.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2011 - The St. Louis County Council has introduced a bill to set a Nov. 8 election to decide whether the community of St. George remains.

The municipality's current mayor and a majority of its aldermen support disincorporation, saying that the community doesn't provide enough services to justify its existence. A majority of the residents has signed petitions seeking the vote.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 12, 2011 - Voters in Kansas City and St. Louis have clearly stated their desire to maintain those cities' earnings taxes. Macroeconomic municipal tax policy is not something generally discussed around workplace water coolers and family dinners, but during the past few months it has been a major topic of debate in Missouri's two largest cities. That debate has been healthy and beneficial -- no matter the outcome of the vote.

Missouri homeowners who bought their properties after June 13th of this year and think the assessed values were too high can file appeals, due to a change in the tax code.  But there's a catch.

There could be two new options for St. Louis residents to use their property tax bills  next year as a vehicle for charitable donations.