State Tax Commission of Missouri
4233 NORTH UNION, LLC,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-20114
ED BUSHMEYER, ASSESSOR,)
ST. LOUIS CITY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Assessor and St. Louis City Board of Equalization that the property under appeal is no longer tax abated is AFFIRMED.Complainant appeared by Counsel, Thomas A. Connelly.Respondent appeared by Assistant City Counselor, Carl W. Yates, III.
Decision rendered by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation and tax abatement under Chapters 100 and 353, RSMo, the decision of the St. Louis City Board of Equalization, which sustained the assessment of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine when tax abatement on the property under appeal commenced or should have commenced.The issue of the true value in money or the assessed value of the property under appeal is not addressed in this decision.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis City Board of Equalization.The parties submitted the case on the following documents: (1) Joint Stipulation of Uncontested Material Facts; (2) Complainant’s Statement of Material Facts; and (3) Respondent’s Contested Facts.
2.Joint Stipulation of Uncontested Material Facts.
a.On July 28, 1982, the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis approved Ordinance No. 58626. (Exhibit A).
b.The Ordinance approved the St. Louis/I-70 Industrial/Commercial Center Industrial/Commercial Development Plan prepared by the Plan Industrial Expansion Authority of the City of St. Louis. (Exhibit B).
c.Complainant’s property a/k/a 4233 North Union Boulevard in the City of St. Louis (the Property) was part of the land encompassed by the Development Plan. (Exhibit C).
d.Attached to the Ordinance was the St. Louis/I-70 Industrial/Commercial Center Industrial/Commercial Development Plan prepared by the Plan Industrial Authority of the City of St. Louis (the Development Plan). (Exhibit B).
e.On November 18, 1983, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority of the City of St. Louis Conveyed the Property to Redinc Redevelopment Corporation. (Exhibit C).
f.On January 18, 1994, Redinc Redevelopment Corporation conveyed the Property to SLBS Limited Partnership. (Exhibit D).
g.On August 28, 2002, SLBS Limited Partnership conveyed the Property to 4233 North Union, LLC (the Complainant). (Exhibit E).
h.The Ordinance extended the benefits of Chapter 353 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri as referenced and authorized in Chapter 100.570, RSMo (1978). (Exhibits A & B).
i.Paragraph 8(a) of the Ordinance provided that any redevelopment corporation acquiring title to property from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority would be entitled to the ad valorem tax abatement benefits of Chapter 353.100 RSMo (1978) for a period not exceeding 25 years from the commencing of such tax abatement.The Ordinance made tax abatement available on improvements to property in the redevelopment area.(Exhibits A & B).
j.Paragraph 8(b) of the Ordinance provided that any redeveloper was required to pay “in lieu” of ad valorem taxes established in an amount equal to the amount by which the actual tax against such property, had the assessed valuation of said property remained the same as the assessed valuation of said property on the 1st day of January of the calendar year in which the redevelopment corporation acquired title to the property.(Exhibits A & B).
k.Paragraph 8(b) required a redeveloper to pay real estate taxes existing on January 1, 1983, plus any increases on that “base amount” through the years.
3.Complainant’s Statement of Material Facts.
a.SLBS Management, Inc., a Missouri corporation, was the sole General Partner of SLBS Limited Partnership.
b.SLBS Management, Inc. was created on January 13, 1994.
c.On January 11, 1994, SLBS (a/k/a St. Louis Beer Sales) applied to the Building Division of the City of St. Louis, Missouri for a Building Permit for Improvements for an office and warehouse (wholesale of beer) at 4233 North Union.
d.The building permit was for the building, electrical and plumbing work at that address.
e.A search of the City of St. Louis Building Division records reveals that there were no other Building Permits for improvements at the 4233 North Union address during the period November 18, 1983, to January 11, 1994.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious.The hearing officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the Board’s assessment is erroneous and what the correct assessment should have been for the property.
When Abatement Started
The issue presented to the Commission by the parties is: When the abatement authorized under St. Louis City Ordinance 58626 started or should have started on the property under appeal.In accordance, with the terms of said Ordinance, Section 8 (a) the ad valorem tax benefits of Chapter 353.110, RSMo (1978) became available when a redevelopment corporation acquired fee simple title to the subject property.The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority conveyed the subject property to Redinc Redevelopment Corporati1, on November 18, 1983.Therefore, in accordance with §353.110.1 & 2 the abatement began upon the date upon which Redinc became the owner of the subject property – November 18, 1983.Since the date that the redevelopment corporation acquired the property was November 18, 1983, the Assessor the City of St. Louis began the abatement on, and as of January 1, 1984, the January immediately following acquisition by Redinc.
The abatement was correctly started in accordance with §353.110.1 on January 1, 1984.Under §353.110.2 the period of the abatement was twenty-five years from January 1, 1984.The abatement ended as of January 1, 2009.Complainant’s property became subject to assessment and payment of all ad valorem taxes, based on the full true value of the real property as of January 1, 2009.The fact as to when any improvements were constructed on the subject property is irrelevant.There is no language in the statute which stays or tolls the running of the abatement period because no improvements have been made.
The determination by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis City for the subject tax day to terminate the abatement as of January 1, 2009, and to assess the property based upon the full true value in money as of that date is AFFIRMED.
The Order entered herein finding the abatement on the property under appeal terminated as of January 1, 2009, is not a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization under §138.431.5, RSMo, as to the assessed valuation of the subject property.It is an interlocutory order.It is not an appealable order under §§138.431.5 and 138.432, RSMo, until a Hearing Officer decision and order on the issue of valuation of the subject property is issued.At such time it may be raised as a point under a timely filed Application for Review to the full Commission.
The issue of the true value in money as of January 1, 2009, is now ready to be addressed by the Commission upon submission of evidence by the parties.An appropriate order setting an exchange schedule will be forth coming.
The Collector of St. Louis City, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending further order of the Commission.
Any Finding of Fact which is a Conclusion of Law or Decision shall be so deemed.Any Decision which is a Finding of Fact or Conclusion of Law shall be so deemed.
SO ORDERED June 16, 2011.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 16th day of June, 2011, to:Thomas Connelly, 1007 Olive Street, 2nd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63101, Attorney for Complainant; Carl W. Yates III, Associate City Counselor, 314 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103, Attorney for Respondent; Ed Bushmeyer, Assessor, 120 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103; Gregory Daly, Collector, 110 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103.
Barbara Heller, Legal Coordinator
Contact Information for State Tax Commission:
Missouri State Tax Commission
301 W. High Street, Room 840
P.O. Box 146
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146
 The following Exhibits were attached to the Joint Stipulation: A – St. Louis City Ordinance 58626; B – Committee Substitute Board Bill 42, with supporting documents which was adopted as Ordinance 58626; C – Warranty Deed dated 11/18/1983; D – General Warranty Deed, dated 1/18/1994; E – Special Warranty Deed, dated 8/28/2002.
 The following Exhibits were attached to Complainant’s Statement: A – Secretary of State Record of Good Standing for SLBS Management Inc & 1999 Annual Registration Report; B – Application for Building Permit for property at 4233 Union, dated 1/18/1994; C – Affidavit of Thomas A. Connelly; Exhibit D was referenced in the statement, but no document identified as Exhibit D was attached to the Statement of Material Facts.
 The following documents were attached to Respondent’s Contested Facts: 1 – Affidavit of John L. Gilbert, Jr.; 2 –Letter dated 11/18/83 to Deputy Assessor from General Counsel, St. Louis Development Corp; 3 – Copy of Complaint for Review of Assessment for present appeal; 4 – General Warranty Deed, dated 11/18/1983 – Beer Warehousing, Inc., Grantor, Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, Grantee; 5 – Warranty Deed, dated 11/18/1983 – Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, Grantor, Redinc Redevelopment Corp, Grantee.
 Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958)