State Tax Commission of Missouri
BALDOR ELECTRIC, )
v. ) Appeal No. 05-10992
JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR, )
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, )
DECISION AND ORDER
St. Louis County Board of Equalization’s assessment SET ASIDE. On December 26, 2012, Complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.
True value in money and assessment ratio for the subject property for tax year(s):
Complainant represented by counsel Attorney Thomas Campbell.
Respondent represented by Attorney Edward Corrigan.
Case decided by State Tax Commission.
Complainant appeals, on the ground(s) of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the County Board of Equalization. Having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, the following Decision and Order is entered.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the County Board of Equalization.
2. Motion for Summary Judgment. The Complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on December 26, 2012. On January 25, 2013, the Respondent conceded said Motion.
3. Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number: 25O440184 and is further identified as 3560 Scarlett Oak, St. Louis, Missouri.
4. Assessment The County determined the valuation of the property as:
5. 2005 Ratio The State Tax Commission in West County BMW v. Muehlheausler, STC Number 05-12569, (Decision and Order, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law therein, is incorporated by reference, as if set out in full, in this final decision of the Commission) found the weighted median of 25% as the commercial ratio assessment.
No evidence was presented suggesting that the Board of Equalization applied anything less than the statutorily required 32% assessment rate to commercial properties when attempting to determine assessed value. Therefore, determining that the actual level of assessment in the county for 2005 was 25% necessarily means that a large portion of the commercial properties within the county were undervalued for tax years 2005 and 2006. The “coefficient of dispersion” (COD) measures uniformity of ratios. The IAAO standards call for a COD of 15% to 20% for commercial property. Ratios not within the standards are grossly excessive.
6. Complainant, by his Motion for Summary Judgment, accepts the County Board of Equalization’s determination as the true value of the subject property.
7. County submitted no evidence to dispute the valuation as ordered by the Board of Equalization.
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.
Basis of Assessment
The Constitution mandates that real property and tangible personal property be assessed at its value or such percentage of its value as may be fixed by law for each class and for each subclass. The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property is assessed at set percentages of true value in money.
Presumption In Appeals and True Value
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 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 valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.
In this case, the Complainant has set forth in their Motion for Summary Judgment that the Board of Equalization’s determination of value is the true value of the subject property and the Respondent did not present any evidence as to the valuation of the property. Therefore, the Board of Equalization’s determination of true value is sustained.
In order to obtain a reduction in assessed value based upon discrimination, the Complainant must (1) prove the true value in money of their property on January 1, 2005; and (2) show an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials resulting in an assessment of that property at a greater percentage of value than other property, generally, within the same class within the same taxing jurisdiction or show that the level of an assessment is so grossly excessive as to be inconsistent with an honest exercise of judgment. 
The State Tax Commission previously took up this matter in West County BMW v. Muehlheausler, STC 05-12569. The Commission found that there was no evidence that there was an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials, however, they did find that the level of their assessment is so grossly excessive as to be inconsistent with an honest exercise of judgment. “By requiring that the level of an assessment be so grossly excessive as to be inconsistent with an honest exercise of judgment in cases in which intentional discrimination is not shown, the courts and the Commission refrain from correcting assessments which reflect no more than de minimus errors of judgment on the part of assessors. Such a standard recognizes that ‘[w]hile practical uniformity is the constitutional goal, absolute uniformity is an unattainable ideal’.” 
In this instance, the true value as set by the Board of Equalization is $4,272,400. Neither party disputed the valuation – the Complainant thru his Motion for Summary Judgment consents to the determination and the Respondent did not present evidence as to valuation. It was previously found by the Commission that the average assessment ratio for the county for
January 1, 2005, was 25% rather than the statutorily mandated 32%. At 25%, the assessed value for the subject property should have been $$1,068,100. Instead, the assessed value for the subject property, as determined by the Board of Equalization, was $1,367,168, or 32%. The issue is whether the difference between the average assessment level for the county (25%) and the assessment level for the taxpayer’s property (32%) is grossly excessive.
The IAAO sets standards for Assessment Ratio Studies including the acceptable Coefficient of Dispersion (COD). COD measures the average deviation from the median and expresses it as a percentage of the median ratio. The lower the COD, the more uniform the assessments within a particular county. IAAO standards call for a COD of 15 percent to 20 percent for commercial properties.
The median level of assessment for St. Louis County for the 2005 assessment cycle is 25% and the Complainant’s assessment for the 2005 assessment cycle is 32%. Since the Complainant’s assessment is not within an acceptable range of variance, more specifically, within an acceptable COD threshold (COD of 15-20%), the Complainant’s assessment can be considered to be so grossly excessive as to be entirely inconsistent with an honest exercise of judgment or inconsistent with a “de minimus error of judgment on the part of assessor” recognizing that absolute uniformity is an unattainable ideal.
Complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Complainant submitted the Board of Equalization decision to establish true market value; the Board’s value is presumed to be correct. The State Tax Commission previously determined the average level of assessment for 2005. There is no genuine dispute of material fact. Pleadings, admissions, and presumptions having established no issues of fact exist, the law entitles the moving party to a favorable judgment.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2005 and 2006 is set at $1,068,100.
Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Decision.
If judicial review of this decision is made, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the courts. If no judicial review is made within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.
If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, Complainants may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 February 21, 2013.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Randy Holman, Commissioner
Victor Callahan, Commissioner
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 21st day of February, 2013, to: Thomas Campbell, 100 South Fourth Street, Suite 1000, St. Louis, MO 63102, Attorney for Complainant; Edward Corrigan, Associate County Counselor, Attorney for Respondent, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Eugene Leung, Acting Collector, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105.
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
 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)