STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|FELIX & SUE WASHBURN||)|
|v.||)||Appeal No. 15-13420|
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR||)|
|ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
ORDER AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
On August 2, 2016, Senior Hearing Officer Amy Westermann issued her order affirming the value placed upon the subject property by the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, finding that Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence demonstrating market value. Complainants filed an Application for Review of the Decision. Respondent filed a Response. Complainants filed a Reply.
Standard Upon Review
A party subject to a Decision and Order of a Hearing Officer with the State Tax Commission may file an application requesting the case be reviewed by the Commission. The Commission may then summarily allow or deny their request. The Commission may affirm, modify, reverse or set aside the decision. The Commission may take any additional evidence and conduct further hearings.
Complainant’s Application for Review and Points Raised
Complainants filed a multi-page document that was treated as an Application for Review. Pursuant to 138.432 RSMo. “[a] complainant, respondent-assessor, or other party subject to a decision and order of a hearing officer, may file with the commission, within thirty days following the date of notification or mailing of such decision and order, an application to have such decision and order reviewed by the commission. Such application shall contain specific detailed grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous. …” (emphasis added). Complainants’ filing does not set forth any specific error of the Hearing Officer. Complainants argue that due to storm water issues, a manhole, and sewer lines crossing the property that the true market value of the subject property should be lower.
DISCUSSION AND RULING
The Commission will not lightly interfere with the Hearing Officer’s Decision and substitute its judgment on the credibility of witnesses and weight to be given the evidence for that of the Hearing Officer as the trier of fact. Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Lowe v. Lombardi, 957 S.W.2d 808 (Mo. App. W.D. 1997); Forms World, Inc. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Com’n, 935 S.W.2d 680 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996); Evangelical Retirement Homes v. STC, 669 S.W.2d 548 (Mo. 1984); Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Commission, 596 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. 1980); St. Louis County v. STC, 562 S.W.2d 334 (Mo. 1978); St. Louis County v. STC, 406 S.W.2d 644 (Mo. 1966).
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization. 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). It places the burden of going forward with some substantial and persuasive evidence squarely on the Complainant. Respondent has no burden to fulfill. The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted if 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. Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970). However, the owner’s opinion is without probative value where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation. Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965). “Where the basis for a test as to the reliability of the testimony is not supported by a statement of facts on which it is based, or the basis of fact does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.” Carmel Energy at 783. A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
Complainants failed to demonstrate that the decision of the Hearing Officer was erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, unreasonable or contrary to Missouri law. The Assessor determined the value to be $192,100. The BOE sustained the valuation. Complainants proposed a market value of $175,000. Complainants did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE. Complainants did not present substantial and persuasive evidence of as to the true market value of the subject property.
Complainants argue that their property should be valued at $175,000 due to storm water issues. Complainants presented no market based evidence of the impact on the true market value of the subject property based upon such asserted inadequacies with the property. Complainants referenced assessments surrounding properties to establish value. The methodology used by the Complainants is not a recognized methodology for establishing true value.
Alternatively, Respondent presented the testimony of a State Certified Residential Appraiser and an appraisal. The appraiser developed the sales comparison approach. The appraiser made adjustments to the comparables utilized for the differences between the subject property and each comparable. A $5,000 negative adjustment was made to each comparable for “stormwater [sic] runoff” on the subject property. Such is noted in the “Comments on Sales Comparison” section of the Respondent’s appraisal. The appraiser determined the market value for the property as of January 1, 2015 was $203,000. The Respondent offered the evidence only to support the valuation of $192,100.
The Decision of the Hearing Officer was based upon an appropriate application of the law to the facts presented in this Complaint for Review of Assessment. We find no error by the Hearing Officer.
The Decision and Order of the Hearing Officer, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law is AFFIRMED. It is incorporated by reference, as if set forth herein verbatim, in full, in this final decision of the Commission.
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 Order.
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 unless disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
If no judicial review is made within thirty 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.
SO ORDERED this 25th day of October, 2016.
STATE TAX COMMISSION
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Victor Callahan, Commissioner
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 25th day of October, 2016, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainants, the county Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and county Collector.
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
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|FELIX C. & SUE A. WASHBURN,||)|
|Appeal No. 15-13420
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR||)|
|ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessment made by the Board of Equalization of St. Louis County (BOE) is AFFIRMED. Complainants Felix C. and Sue A. Washburn (Complainants) did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE. Assessed value in money for the subject property for tax years 2015 and 2016 is set at $36,500 residential ($192,100 true market value or TMV).
Complainants appeared pro se.
Respondent Jake Zimmerman, St. Louis County Assessor, (Respondent) appeared by attorney Steven Robson, Assistant County Counselor.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Amy S. Westermann.
Complainant appealed on the ground of overvaluation. Respondent initially set the TMV of the subject property, as residential property, at $192,100. The BOE sustained Respondent’s valuation. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the TMV of the subject property on January 1, 2015.
The Senior Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The issue of overvaluation was presented at an evidentiary hearing, which was held on June 30, 2016, at the St. Louis Government Administration Building, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by parcel/locator number 27J431116. The subject property is further identified as 9909 Tesson Creek Estates Dr., St. Louis, Missouri. (Complaint; Exhibit 1)
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of a 7,150 square foot residential lot improved by a 1,424 square foot, single family, ranch-style residence built in 1991. The residence has a 1,424 square foot unfinished basement, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. (Exhibit 1) The subject property has a two-car attached garage, a deck, a gas furnace and water heater, and central air conditioning. (Exhibit 1) The exterior is composed of brick and vinyl. (Exhibit 1) The subject property also has a stormwater runoff problem in the backyard. (Exhibit 1) The condition of the subject property falls into the C4 category, which is defined as the “improvements feature some minor deferred maintenance and physical deterioration due to normal wear and tear. The dwelling has been adequately maintained and requires only minimal repairs to building components/mechanical systems and cosmetic repairs. All major building components have been adequately maintained and are functionally adequate.” (Exhibit 1)
- Assessment. Respondent set a TMV of $192,100, residential, as of January 1, 2015. (Complaint)
- Board of Equalization. The BOE sustained Respondent’s TMV of the subject property.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainants testified in their own behalf. Complainants testified that they had purchased the subject property in 1998 for approximately $159,000. Complainants testified that no mortgage encumbered the home. Complainants testified that the subject property had not been listed for sale or appraised within the three years prior to the evidentiary hearing. Complainant testified that they had made no improvements to the subject property between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2015. Complainants argued, in part, that the TMV of their land should be lowered and the overall assessed value of the subject property should be lowered due to a problem with stormwater runoff, a storm sewer, and a manhole cover on the property. Complainants opined that the subject property’s TMV was $175,000 as of January 1, 2015.
Complainants offered as evidence a table that showed the 2014 and 2015 assessed values of the subject property and seven neighboring properties. (Exhibit A) The table also noted certain miscellaneous features of each property, such as bay windows; fireplaces; whether the residence was a single story, 1-½ story or 2 story house; and whether the property had a sprinkler system. (Exhibit A) Complainants offered photographs of the street view of two neighboring properties and of the subject property. (Exhibit B) Complainants offered photographs of the subject property’s storm sewers with manhole covers and a property sketch with the location of the storm sewers drawn in red ink. (Exhibit C) Complainants offered three pages of tables containing data comparing the subject property to several neighboring properties. (Exhibit D) Exhibit D stated that the “sewer inlets [on the subject property] reduces (sic) land value $10,000.” Exhibit D showed that the subject property has two sewer inlets. Exhibit D showed that that the subject property’s land value and the land value of four of the neighboring properties all had been assessed at the same amount for 2014 and 2015. (Exhibit D) Complainants offered photographs of the area beneath the deck in the back yard and of the unfinished ceiling in the basement of the residence. (Exhibit E) Complainants offered a packet titled “Other Sales In Your Area” that had been retrieved from the St. Louis County Department of Revenue’s website. (Exhibit F) The packet purported to list sales within 5,000 feet of the subject property that had occurred between January 1, 2012, and March 1, 2015. (Exhibit F) On cross-examination, Complainants testified that they did not know the meaning of the “Sales Validity” column and had researched the sales on the basis square footage.
Respondent did not object to Complainants’ Exhibits B, C, and E, which were received into the record. Respondent objected to Complainants’ Exhibit A on the ground of relevant and to Exhibit F on the ground it lacked foundation. The Senior Hearing Officer overruled the objections and received Exhibits A and F into the record. Respondent objected to Exhibit D on the ground of relevance in that it did not show the value of the subject property. The Senior Hearing Officer reserved ruling on the objection until entering the written decision on the appeal. 8. Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent offered as evidence the testimony of Missouri State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser Nancy McGrath (the Appraiser). Respondent also offered Exhibit 1, which contained the professional qualifications of the Appraiser and the Appraisal Report for the subject property. (Exhibit 1)
The Appraiser opined that the subject property had a TMV of $203,000 as of January 1, 2015, which supported the BOE’s valuation of $192,100 as of January 1, 2015. The Appraiser testified that she had used the sales comparison approach to arrive at her opinion of value. The Appraiser testified that she had performed an exterior inspection of the subject property and had viewed the storm sewers and the drainage easement. The Appraiser chose three comparable properties close in proximity to the subject property that had sold between June 2014 and September 2014. (Exhibit 1) The market sale prices of the comparables ranged from $228,000 to $246,000. (Exhibit 1) The adjusted sales prices ranged from $202,200 to $203,000. (Exhibit 1) The Appraiser testified that she gave the most weight to Comparable No. 1 in reaching her final estimate of the TMV of the subject property because Comparable No. 1 required the lowest gross adjustment to its sale price. (Exhibit 1) On cross examination, the Appraiser testified that she had reviewed sales of comparable properties from actual sales activity and did not simply review similar properties or assessments of similar properties to derive a TMV for the subject property.
In conducting her analysis as described in Exhibit 1, the Appraiser made adjustments to the sale price of each of the comparables based on terms of sale or financing concessions; the condition or nature of the site; the condition of the improvements; the square footage of the improvements and finish of the basements; the exterior construction of the improvements; and the various miscellaneous items such as decks, porches, patios, and fireplaces. (Exhibit 1) The Appraiser testified that she made a $5,000 negative adjustment to each comparable to account for the nuisance created by the stormwater runoff on the subject property. The Appraiser testified that she had made the adjustment as a way to account for the nuisance of the stormwater runoff only because her market research had not shown a difference in the TMV of properties with storm sewers and manhole covers versus the TMV of properties without storm sewers and manhole covers.
Complainants did not object to Respondent’s evidence, which was received into the record.
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, including the application of any abatement. The Senior 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. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo (2000) as amended.
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. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute, real property and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money: residential property at 19%; commercial property at 32%; and agricultural property at 12%. Section 137.115.5 RSMo (2000) as amended.
Investigation by Hearing Officer
In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer may inquire of the owner of the property or of any other party to the appeal regarding any matter or issue relevant to the valuation, subclassification, or assessment of the property. Section 138.430.2 RSMo (2000) as amended. The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties. Id. During the evidentiary hearing in this case, the Hearing Officer made inquiry of Complainant and Respondent’s Appraiser.
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule, or method in determining true value in money and is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as deemed necessary when viewed in connection with all other circumstances. Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991). The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, is not bound by the opinions of experts but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony or accept it in part or reject it in part. Exchange Bank of Missouri v. Gerlt, 367 S.W.3d 132, 135-36 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012).
Complainant’s Burden of Proof
To obtain a reduction in assessed valuation based upon an alleged overvaluation, the Complainant must prove the true value in money of the subject property on the subject tax day. Hermel, Inc., v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978). True value in money is defined as the price that the subject property would bring when offered for sale by one willing but not obligated to sell it and is bought by one willing or desirous to purchase but not compelled to do so. Rinehart v. Bateman, 363 S.W.3d 357, 365 Mo. App. W.D. 2012); Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008); Greene County v. Hermel, Inc., 511 S.W.2d 762, 771 (Mo. 1974). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not in terms of value in use. Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973). In sum, true value in money is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897.
A presumption exists that the assessed value fixed by the BOE is correct. Rinehart, 363 S.W.3d at 367; Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348; Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 895. “Substantial and persuasive controverting evidence is required to rebut the presumption, with the burden of proof resting on the taxpayer.” Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Persuasive evidence is evidence that has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702. The persuasiveness of evidence does not depend on the quantity or amount thereof but on its effect in inducing belief. Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975). See also, Westwood Partnership v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Daly v. P. D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Reeves v. Snider, 115 S.W.3d 375 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003).
There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a Commission appeal still bears the burden of proof. The taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief. Therefore, the Complainant bears the burden of proving the vital elements of the case, i.e., the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” Westwood Partnership, 103 S.W.3d 152 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Daly v. P. D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Reeves v. Snider, 115 S.W.3d 375 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003); Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 804 S.W.2d 387, 392 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).
Generally, a property owner, while not an expert, is competent to testify to the reasonable market value of his own land. Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348-49; Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992). “However, when an owner’s opinion is based on improper elements or foundation, his opinion loses its probative value.” Carmel Energy, Inc., 827 S.W.2d at 783. A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).
Board Presumption and Computer-Assisted Presumption
There exists a presumption of correct assessment by the BOE. In charter counties or the City of St. Louis, there exists by statutory mandate a presumption that the Assessor’s original valuation was made by a computer, computer-assisted method or a computer program – the computer-assisted presumption. These two presumptions operate with regard to the parties in different ways. The BOE presumption operates in every case to require the taxpayer to present evidence to rebut it. If Respondent is seeking to prove a value different than that set by the BOE, then it also would be applicable to the Respondent. The computer-assisted presumption is applicable only if (1) the BOE lowered the value of the Assessor and Respondent is seeking to sustain the original assessment and (2) it has not been shown that the Assessor’s valuation was not the result of a computer assisted method. The BOE’s valuation is assumed to be an independent valuation.
In the present appeal, the BOE sustained the initial valuation of Respondent; therefore, the computer-assisted presumption is not applicable in the present appeal. Furthermore, Respondent did not seek to prove a value different than that set by the BOE even though the Appraiser’s report indicated the TMV of the subject property was higher than the TMV set by the BOE.
Methods of Valuation
Proper methods of valuation and assessment of property are delegated to the Commission. It is within the purview of the Hearing Officer to determine the method of valuation to be adopted in a given case. See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, 564 S.W.2d at 897; Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975). Missouri courts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach, and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (App. E.D. 1993); Aspenhof Corp. v. STC, 789 S.W.2d 867, 869 (App. E.D. 1990); Quincy Soybean Company, Inc., v. Lowe, 773 S.W.2d 503, 504 (App. E.D. 1989), citing Del-Mar Redevelopment Corp v. Associated Garages, Inc., 726 S.W.2d 866, 869 (App. E.D. 1987); and State ex rel. State Highway Comm’n v. Southern Dev. Co., 509 S.W.2d 18, 27 (Mo. 1974).
In the present appeal based upon overvaluation, Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of true market value advocated by Respondent. First, Complainants’ evidence was not substantial to support their opinion as to value. Substantial evidence is that which is relevant, adequate, and reasonably supports a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702. Complainants did not utilize a recognized approach to valuing the property, i.e., the sales comparison approach, the cost approach, or the income approach. Although Complainants presented evidence concerning the assessed values of neighboring properties and argued that the subject property should be assessed at a lower level based on the assessments of those neighboring properties, the comparisons were made absent market-based value adjustments for similarities and differences between the properties. Specifically, Exhibit D was not relevant to proving the TMV of the subject property in that the data on the exhibit provided assessed values and some basic descriptions of miscellaneous features, such as number of fireplaces, bay windows, and finished basements, of similar properties in the subject property’s neighborhood. Exhibit D provided no data from which the Senior Hearing Officer could conclude that the subject property had a particular TMV.
Second, Complainant’s evidence was not persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct valuation by the BOE. Persuasive evidence is that which causes the trier of fact to believe, more likely than not, the conclusion advocated is the correct conclusion. Id. Complainants’ evidence did not compel a conclusion that the subject property had a TMV of $175,000. Although Complainants argued that the stormwater runoff detracted from the value of the subject property, Complainants offered no evidence, such as market data or bids for repair, redirection, or remediation, indicating that the value of the subject property was diminished by a particular dollar amount due to the stormwater runoff. Moreover, the Appraiser took the stormwater runoff into account when conducting her market analysis and made a corresponding site adjustment of $5,000 to the comparable properties. (Exhibit 1)
Consequently, although Complainants presented some evidence to support their opinion of the subject property’s TMV, it is neither substantial nor persuasive because, if relied upon, the fact finder would be required to resort to speculation to conclude the TMV of the subject property on January 1, 2015, should be $175,000.
Conversely, Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to support his conclusion that the TMV of the subject property was $203,000 on January 1, 2015.
In arriving at an opinion of value, the Appraiser considered all three approaches to value the subject property: the cost approach, the income approach, and the sales comparison approach. The Appraiser ultimately utilized the sales comparison approach because the cost approach and the income approach were not applicable to valuing the subject property.
The Appraiser selected three comparable sales located in the same or similar marketing areas and made adjustments to the comparables. All of the comparables were similar to the subject property. All were ranch-style residences with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two-car attached garages. (Exhibit 1) The exteriors of Comparable Nos. 2 and 3 were constructed of materials similar to the subject property, i.e., vinyl and brick. All of the comparables were constructed in 1991 or 1992. (Exhibit 1) The Appraiser weighted Comparable Nos. 1, 2, and 3 equally. Comparable No. 3 was located on the same street as the subject property. The market sale price of Comparable No. 3 in September 2014 was $246,000. The adjusted sale price of Comparable No. 3 was $203,000. (Exhibit 1)
From this substantial and persuasive evidence presented by Respondent, it is reasonable to find and conclude that the TMV of the subject property on January 1, 2015, was $203,500.
The true market valuation for the subject property as determined by Respondent for the subject tax day and sustained by the BOE is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2015 and 2016 is set at $36,500 ($192,100 TMV).
Application for Review
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Decision. The application shall contain specific facts or law as grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous. Said application must be in writing addressed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person at the address listed below in the certificate of service.
Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. Section 138.432, RSMo
The Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending the possible filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
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 August 2, 2016.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Amy S. Westermann
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been electronically mailed or sent by U.S. Mail on this 2 day of August, 2016 to:
Felix C. and Sue A. Washburn, Complainants, 9909 Tesson Creek Estates Dr., St. Louis, MO 63123
Steven Robson, St. Louis County Associate County Counselor, SRobson@stlouisco.com
 Respondent did not advocate increasing the BOE’s assessment of the subject property’s value.