Marshall & Mollie Walters v. Bushmeyer (SLCY)

March 4th, 2008

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.)Appeal Number 07-20676












On March 4, 2008, Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan entered her Decision and Order (Decision) affirming the assessment by the St. Louis City Board of Equalization.

Complainants timely filed their Application for Review of the Decision, received 4/1/08.Respondent timely filed his Response, received 5/5/08.Complainants file a Supplemental Request for Commission Review of Hearing officer Decision, received 5/14/08.


Standard Upon Review

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).

The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert or lay witness and give it as much weight and credit as she may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances.The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts or lay witnesses who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part.St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992);Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981).

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).


A review of the record in the present appeal provides support for the determinations made by the Hearing Officer.There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Hearing Officer.A reasonable mind could have conscientiously reached the same result based on a review of the entire record. The Commission finds no basis to support a determination that the Hearing Officer acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner or abused her discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal. Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. 1978); Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Holt v. Clarke, 965 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998); Smith v. Morton, 890 S.W.2d403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995); Phelps v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 598 S.W.2d 163 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).

Complainants’ Points on Appeal

Complainants raise only two points in their Application for Review.The two points presented are:

(1)the Hearing Officer erred in concluded that the provisions of §137.115, RSMo do not apply to Exhibit 2 – Respondent’s appraisal; and


(2)the Hearing Officer erred in excluding portions of Exhibits A, B, C and D and portions of testimony of Lexie Walters.


Application of §137.115 to Exhibit 2

The Hearing Officer correctly found the provisions of §137.115, RSMo do not apply to a valuation made by the Board of Equalization.The Assessor’s original valuation was not at issue in the appeal.There is no need to recite the excellent analysis on this point set forth by the Hearing Officer at pages 6 through 9 of the Decision.Furthermore, the Decision affirming the Board does not rest upon Exhibit 2.Complainants failed to meet the burden of proof on the issues of Overvaluation and Discrimination, therefore the presumption in favor of the Board’s value was not rebutted.See, Findings of Fact 3 & 4.

Exclusion of Exhibits and Testimony

The Hearing Officer did not err in her rulings which excluded portions of Exhibits A, B, C and D and testimony of Lexie Walters.The record fails to establish that the Hearing Officer abused her discretion in her ruling on the objections raised to the excluded documents and testimony.The excluded information essentially related to the offer of a “Comparative Market Analysis.”

A comparative market analysis is not recognized by either the Commission or the courts of Missouri for valuation of real property for ad valorem tax purposes.See, Decision, p. 12Methods of Valuation; See Also, Eldridge v. Davis, STC Appeal No. 07-62539, 2/26/08.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, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra; Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).The Hearing Officer did not err in rejecting Complainants’ comparative market analysis.


Complainants’ points raised are not well taken.The Hearing Officer did not err in her determinations as challenged by Complainants.

Supplemental Request

The Supplement Request for Review was filed out of time (more than thirty (30) days after the date of the Decision) and therefore cannot be considered.§138.432, RSMo.There is no provision in statutes or regulations for a supplemental application for review.


The Commission upon review of the record and Decision in this appeal, finds no grounds upon which the Decision of the Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified.Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed.

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 date of the mailing of this Order.

The Collector of Louis City shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending an Order from the Commission as to whether a Petition for Judicial Review of the Order has been filed.

SO ORDERED August 19, 2008.


Bruce E. Davis, Chairman

Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner

Charles Nordwald, Commissioner









Decision of the St. Louis City Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor, AFFIRMED.Hearing Officer finds true value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 to be $279,210, assessed value of $53,050.

Complainant appeared in person and by counsel, Timothy Walters.

Respondent appeared by Counsel, Carl W. Yates, III, Associate County Counselor.

Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.


The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007.


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Louis City Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $331,200, assessed value of $62,930, as residential property.The Board of Equalization reduced the true value to $279,210, assessed value $53,050.Complainants proposed a value of $178,000, assessed value of $33,280.A hearing was conducted on January 29, 2008, at the St. LouisCity Hall,St. Louis,Missouri.

The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.

Complainants’ Evidence

The following exhibits were offered into evidence on behalf of the Complainant.

Exhibit A – Value of 1034-36 Art Hill Place: Narrative by Lexie Walters, Proposal for Repairs to Property ($4740), Invoice for Railing ($855).

Exhibit B – Comparable Properties Sold in the Last 6 months: Narrative by Lexie Walters, Comparative Sales Statistics, Photographs, Assessment Records

Exhibit C – Assessments vary Between the Same Properties: Narrative by Lexie Walters, Assessment Records, Photographs

Exhibit D – Current Assessed Valuation: Narrative of Lexie Walters, Sales of 4 unit buildings in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Exhibit A pages 2 and 3 were received into evidence.

Complainant offered Exhibit B for Discrimination Evidence.Exhibit B photographs and MLS information admitted into evidence.

Complainant offered Exhibit C for Discrimination Evidence.Exhibit C was admitted excluding the narrative.

Complainant offered Exhibit D for Discrimination Evidence.Respondent objected as to hearsay and foundation.MLS listings for 2006 and 2007 admitted into evidence.

Testimony of Lexie Walters and Mollie Walters.

Respondent’s Evidence

The following exhibits were offered into evidence on behalf of the Respondent.

Exhibit 1 –Board of Equalization Form

Exhibit 2 – Appraisal of Subject Property

All Exhibits were received into evidence.

Testimony of John Norton.


1.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.

2.The subject property is located at1034 Art Hill Place,St. Louis,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 5968-00-0030-0.The property consists of a lot measuring 42 feet 6 inches by 127 feet. The lot is improved by a two-story brick, four-family structure.The house was built in 1929 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has 3,842 square feet of living area.There is a full basement and no garage.

3.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2007, for the residential tract as improved to be $178,000.

4.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to establish that the property under appeal was being assessed at a ratio greater than 19% or the average ratio for residential property in the City ofSt. Louis.



The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.

Board of Equalization Presumption

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof 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).

Rebutting of Presumption of Correct Assessment

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.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.

Complainants’ Burden of Proof

In order to prevail, Complainant must present an opinion of market value and substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on January 1, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).Persuasive evidence is that evidence which has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.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).


Standard for Valuation

Section 137.115, RSMo, requires that property be assessed based upon its true value in money which is defined as the price a property would bring when offered for sale by one willing or desirous to sell and bought by one who is willing or desirous to purchase but who is not compelled to do so.St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.Hermel, supra.

Market Value

Market value is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.

Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:

1.Buyer and seller are typically motivated.


2.Both parties are well informed and well advised, and each acting in what they consider their own best interests.


3.A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.


4.Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.


5.Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.


6.The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction.


Real Estate Appraisal Terminology, Society of Real Estate Appraisers, Revised Edition, 1984; See also, Real Estate Valuation in Litigation, J. D. Eaton, M.A.I., American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, 1982, pp. 4-5; Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration, International Association of Assessing Officers, 1990, pp. 79-80; Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, Glossary; Exhibit 1, pp. 3-4.

Section 137.115, RSMo

Complainant argues that the Respondent failed to comply with Section 137.115, RSMo, provisions relating to the valuations of residential property in the City ofSt. Louis.Said section provides, in relevant part, as follows:

“…The assessor shall annually assess all real property in the following manner: new assessed values shall be determined as of January first of each odd-numbered year and shall be entered in the assessor’s books; those same assessed values shall apply in the following even-numbered year, except for new construction and property improvements which shall be valued as though they had been completed as of January first of the preceding odd-numbered year….In the event a valuation of subclass (1) real property within any county with a charter form of government, or within a city not within a county, is made by a computer, computer-assisted method or a computer program, the burden of proof, supported by clear, convincing and cogent evidence to sustain such valuation, shall be on the assessor at any hearing or appeal. In any such county, unless the assessor proves otherwise, there shall be a presumption that the assessment was made by a computer, computer-assisted method or a computer program. Such evidence shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(1) The findings of the assessor based on an appraisal of the property by generally accepted appraisal techniques; and

(2) The purchase prices from sales of at least three comparable properties and the address or location thereof. As used in this paragraph, the word “comparable” means that:

(a) Such sale was closed at a date relevant to the property valuation; and

(b) Such properties are not more than one mile from the site of the disputed property, except where no similar properties exist within one mile of the disputed property, the nearest comparable property shall be used. Such property shall be within five hundred square feet in size of the disputed property, and resemble the disputed property in age, floor plan, number of rooms, and other relevant characteristics…”

The Complainant objected to the Respondent’s narrative appraisal alleging non-compliance with Section 137.115.1, RSMo.The Complainant’s arguments fails because the valuation referenced in Section 137.115, RSMo, set out above, relates to the original valuation made by the Assessor, it does not relate to a reduction, correction or adjustment in value made by the Board of Equalization.

The application of basic rules of statutory construction requires the Hearing Officer to conclude the term valuation, as used in §137.115, set out above, can only mean the Assessor’s original valuation or assessment of a property in a given assessment cycle.The relevant portion of §137.115 must be read in conjunction and in harmony with the language of the entire statute, to the extent that it may assist in determining the meaning and application of the statutory language.The portion of §137.115, RSMo, set out above, cannot be read in a vacuum.

The starting point in determining the meaning of §137.115, is the plain language of the statute itself.Jones v. Director of Revenue, 981 S.W.2d 571 (Mo. 1998).Words are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning whenever possible.Spradlin v. City of Fulton, 982 S.W.2d 255 (Mo. 1998).To effectuate the intention of the lawmakers in enacting the language under consideration, the plain, ordinary and rational meaning of the language should be relied upon.Tate v. Director of Revenue, 982 S.W.2d 724 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); State ex rel. Clay Equipment Corp. v. Jensen, 363 S.W.2d 666 (Mo. 1963).

In the present case, the word valuation is the critical word.For the plain and rational meaning of the word, reference is properly made to the dictionary.Spradlin, supra; Gerlach v. Mo. Com’n on Human Rights, 980 S.W.2d 589 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998).Valuation is the act of determining the value or price of anything; evaluation; appraisal, determined or estimated value or price on the market.Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition.There is no question as to the fact that the word as used in the statute deals with placing a value on real property classified as residential.The question however, is to what or whose valuation does §137.115 refer.

To ascertain what or whose valuation is being addressed in the subject language, it is necessary to look to the other language in the statute.The word valuation as used in the portion of §137.115 under consideration and standing alone has no definite or certain meaning as to whose valuation is being addressed.Therefore, it is necessary to look to the subject matter of the statute and to harmonize the language under consideration with the rest of the statute and its general purpose.State ex rel. Slinkard v. Grebe, 249 S.W.2d 468 (Mo. App. 1952).The context in which the word valuation is used must also be taken into account.Matter of Maxey’s Estate, 585 S.W.2d 326 (Mo. App. S.D. 1979).

The opening provisions of §137.115 set forth the procedure which the assessor is to follow in making his biennial assessment of real and personal property.He is required to assess all real property at the percent of true value in money set out in subsection 5 of this statute.The entirety of the language contained in §137.115 which precedes the portion of the statute under consideration all relates to the assessor’s valuing of property so that the assessed values may be entered into the assessor’s books.Therefore, where §137.115 states, In the event of a valuation of subclass (1) real property within …,St. LouisCity.This can only have reference to the determination of value or appraisal made by the assessor in completion of the assessor’s books.

It is to this valuation which a presumption of computer generations attaches.This is not the valuation which was being contested in the present case.The appeal was from the reduction in value made by the Board of Equalization.The Respondent did not seek to sustain the original valuation made by the assessor under the provisions of §137.115.

It necessarily follows from the determination just made that since valuation in §137.115 means the assessor’s original valuation, it cannot mean the valuation made by the Board in the present appeal.However, reading the portion of §137.115 under consideration within the context of the entire statute gives further support to this conclusion. Nowhere in §137.115 does the term board of equalization appear.There is not a single reference to the board of equalization assessing or valuing real property.It is beyond common sense, basic logic and rational deduction to read the term valuation in §137.115 as applying to a decision of the board of equalization ofSt. LouisCityto reduce the assessor’s valuation in a residential property.The Board’s action of reductioncertainly did not sustain the assessor’s original valuation.The Board corrected the valuation made pursuant to the assessor’s responsibilities under §137.115 by reducing it.

In the present appeal, the Respondent did not offer evidence to sustain his original valuation of the subject property.The only values before the Commission were the Board’s reduced value and the value set forth in the Complaint for Review of Assessment.There was nothing to prove relative to the original §137.115 valuation.It had not been sustained before the Board.It did not have to be sustained before the Hearing Officer.

Respondent elected to rest upon the presumption in favor of the Board’s reduction in value on the subject property.In the absence of Complainants proving value, the presumption in favor of the Board’s reduction is left intact.

Opinion Testimony by Experts

If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.

The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.Section 490.065, RSMo; Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).

Pursuant to 12 CSR 30-3.065(4) any appraisal shall contain the certificate or license number of the person who developed the appraisal or a statement setting forth the basis for exception from licensure and certification. .An Appraisal as defined by Section 339.503, RSMo is defined as an objective analysis, evaluation, opinion, or conclusion relating to the nature, quality, value or utility of specified interests in, or aspects of, identified real estate. An appraisal may be classified by subject matter into either a valuation or an analysis.

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).

The owner appeared at the hearing and testified.She relies primarily on her daughter, Lexie Walters, to manage and operate the properties belonging to her.Lexie Walters testified at the hearing as well.Lexie Walters is a licensed real estate broker since 1991 and manages multi-family buildings including the subject property.Ms. Walters testified that the property is in need of repairs including piering, lateral sewer, rear decks, and water issues.No proposals or estimates for remediation were presented.Ms. Walters testified that in 2007 repairs on the porch in the amount of $5605.00 were completed.Ms. Walters, as a member of the Realtor Multiple Listing Service Realist, presented information regarding sales of properties of multiple family dwellings.She presented three sales of four unit properties within a mile of the subject property.The properties were comparable to the subject property not only in location but in size and exterior finish as well.Comparable One was a quick claim deed.Because of the type of transfer, the Hearing Officer did not consider the property.Comparable Two sold in June, 2007 for $274,000 or $75.11 per square foot.Comparable Three sold in January 2008.No market data was presented for the adjustment for the time of the sale or for any other adjustments that may be necessary for differences in the properties.

The facts upon which an expert’s opinion is based, like the facts sufficient to support a verdict, must measure up to the legal requirements of substantiality and probative force; the question of whether such opinion is based on and supported by sufficient facts or evidence to sustain the same is a question of law for the court.Robinson v. Empiregas Inc. of Hartville, 906 S.W.2d 829 (S.D. 1995).

The Hearing Officer cannot ignore a lack of support in the evidence for adjustments or lack of adjustments made by the witnesses in the application of a particular valuation approach.Drey v. State Tax Commission, 345 S.W.2d 228, 234-236 (Mo. 1961), Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d, 341, 348 (Mo. 2005).

A comparative market analysis does not meet the standards required by 12 CSR 30-3.065 for appraisals before the Commission.The Commission has never recognized a realtor’s market analysis as a basis for establishing fair market value in an appeal.

Methods of Valuation

Missouricourts 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. Div. 2 1974).

The comparable sales approach uses prices paid for similar properties in arms-length transactions and adjusts those prices to account for differences between the properties.Comparable sales consist of evidence of sales reasonably related in time and distance and involve land comparable in character.This approach is most appropriate when there is an active market for the type of property at issue such that sufficient data is available to make a comparative analysis.Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d. 341, 347-348 (Mo. 2005).

Assessor’s Opinion of Value

John Norton testified on behalf of the Assessor’s Office.Mr. Norton completed a narrative appraisal on the subject property.Mr. Norton used the sales comparison approach to value it is most indicative of buyers and sellers in the market place.Mr. Norton used three properties in his sales comparison.Comparable Two and Three were sold in 2005.No time adjustments were made.Comparable One sold in May, 2006 for $290,000 or $78.72.Comparable One was closest to the subject property insquare footage and no adjustment was needed.Comparables Two and Three were adjusted upward for square footage.Comparable One was in fair condition and was adjusted upwardly to make it more similar to the subject property.Mr. Norton concluded a value of $300,000 for the subject property.His valuation was presented to support the Board’s value and not to advocate a higher value.


In order to obtain a reduction in assessed value based upon discrimination, the Complainant must show an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials resulting in an assessment of the subject property at a greater percentage of value than other property, generally, within the same class within the same taxing jurisdiction. Koplar v. State Tax Commission, 321 S.W.2d 686, 690 (Mo. 1959).Evidence of value and assessments of a few properties does not prove discrimination, nor a lack of uniformity.Substantial evidence must show that all other property in the same class, generally, is actually undervalued.State ex rel. Plantz v. State Tax Commission, 384 S.W.2d 565, 568 (Mo. 1964).The difference in the assessment ratio of the subject property and the average assessment ratio in the subject county must be shown to be grossly excessive.Savage v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 722 S.W.2d 72, 79 (Mo. banc 1986).No other methodology is sufficient to establish discrimination.Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696 (Mo. 1958).

Complainant presented the Assessment Notice for properties located at1034-1036 Art Hill Place(subject property),6520-22 Clayton Ave., and6530-32 Clayton Ave.Complainant presented the sale information for one property in 2007 located at1442 Tamm Avenueand the information from the Assessor’s Office on the property and the sale information for one property in 2006 located at 1111Louisvilleand the information from the Assessor’s Office on the property.

No evidence was presented which establish the average assessment ratio for the City ofSt. Louisfor 2007.Assessments on a few properties are not sufficient to establish the average assessment ratio.Complainant’s evidence failed to establish that the average assessment level in the City ofSt. Louisfor residential property was not 19% or that the subject property was being assessed at a ratio greater than 19% of fair market value.

Complainant’s discrimination claim fails because a statistically significant number of residential properties withinSt. LouisCitywere not shown to have been assessed at a grossly lower ratio of market value than 19%, the ratio applied to the property under appeal.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and reduced by the Board of Equalization forSt. LouisCityfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $53,050.

A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.

If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis City, 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, either party 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 March 4, 2008.


Maureen Monaghan

Hearing Officer