It’s Assessment Day in St. Louis County
Everybody’s favorite biannual activity is online today in St. Louis County. It’s reassessment day! Go to the county’s website and see how much your assessment has increased or decreased. The county reports an overall average decrease of 9 percent, but the school district breakdown will have to come later. Here is what you want to see:
- You want to at least be on the average for your area. That way you will not see any tax increases when various taxing districts roll up their rates to guarantee at least the same amount of revenue as last year. Since right now we only have the countywide average, you at least want to see a 9-percent decrease.
- The real winners in the assessment lottery are going to be the people whose assessments decrease more than the average for their school district. They are the ones who will see actual tax decreases.
- With the coming tax roll-ups, anyone who sees an assessment increase, no matter how small, is in for a tax wallop when the bills come. One of my neighbors saw a 12-percent increase. When the taxes roll up, I assume by roughly 9 percent, the rate increase plus the assessment increase is going to give those people one hell of a tax hike.
- It still feels like a lottery, no matter how much the assessor says it isn’t. My house and the houses belonging to my two neighbors received three very different assessments. Our home’s assessment decreased right on the average (and we’re very happy about that), one neighbor’s assessment decreased only slightly (like 2 percent), and the other neighbor’s assessment rose by 12 percent. Don’t tell me is isn’t a lottery.
- I don’t blame anyone in particular for bringing about this lottery impression. With 360,000 parcels, it’s probably impossible to avoid, unless you abandon individual assessments in favor of area averages, which I proposed in 2007.
- St. Louis County itself has decreased its tax rate, for which County Executive Charlie Dooley and the council should be commended. Now it is up to the school districts, etc., to hold their rates down. If they all automatically roll up by the full amount of the assessment loss, which they are legally entitled to do, then people are barely going to see any tax cuts at all. It is simply that the county makes up a small part of the overall tax rates.
- Should the county average have decreased by more than 9 percent? Perhaps, but I really don’t know. Councilman Greg Quinn thinks they should have fallen much further, and he may well be right.