Warrenton Market Street Properties v. Nordwald (Warren)

July 17th, 2012

State Tax Commission of Missouri







v.) Appeal No.11-91002












Decision of the Warren County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.

True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $372, agricultural assessed value of $45.

Complainant appeared by Counsel Joel Brett, Barklage, Brett, Wibbenmeyer & Hamill, St. Charles, Missouri.

Respondent appeared by Counsel Kate Busch, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of misclassification, the decision of the Warren County Board of Equalization, which sustained the assessment of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the correct classification and value for the subject property on January 1, 2011.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.


1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Warren County Board of Equalization.

2.Submission on Documents.Respondent waived cross-examination of Complainant’s witnesses and evidentiary hearing, accordingly, the appeal was submitted on documents filed in lieu of an evidentiary hearing.

3.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by map parcel number 5-21-3-13-4 and is further identified as Lot 4 Market Street Center, Section 21, Township 47 North, Range 2 West, Warren County, Warrenton, Missouri.The property consists of 1.87 acres.There are no structures on the property.[1]

4.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $278,580, a commercial assessed value of $89,150.[2]The Board sustained the assessment.[3]

5.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant filed the following exhibits which are received into evidence.




Photograph of Subject Property, dated June 2011


Photograph of Subject Property, dated June 2011


Photograph of Subject Property, dated June 2011


Resume of Derek Kessler, Director of Property Management


Rhodes Lawncare, LLC Invoice #3200 dated 10/30/10,

copy of Property Owner’s debit evidencing payment for planting of wheat.


Letter from Derek Kessler to Warren County Assessor’s Office, dated 10/11/10 requesting agricultural designation remain on property.



Rhodes Lawncare, LLC Invoice #3433 dated 5/31/10,

copy of Property Owner’s debit evidencing payment for planting of clover.


Written Direct Testimony of Derek Kessler


Written Direct Testimony of Tony Gagliano


Joint Stipulation of Facts


Parties stipulated to the following facts, among others, as set forth in Exhibit J:

A.    On or about October 2010 and again in April 2011 crops were planted on the property.Winter wheat was planted on or about October 2010, and because much of the wheat failed, clover was planted in April 2011.


B.     That John Abel harvested the hay crop in June 2011.The hay was cut and baled in exchange for Mr. Abel’s services.


C.     That the property is used for agricultural purposes, in that crops were planted and harvested in 2011.


There was no new construction and improvement from January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012, therefore the assessed value for 2011 remains the assessed value for 2012.[5]

Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.

6.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented no evidence.

7.Agricultural Land Productive Value and Assessed Value.[6]The correct agricultural land productive grades and values for the subject property are: Class 4 @ $385 per acre – .04 of an acre ($15.00); Class 4 @ $195 per acre – 1.82 acres ($355.00); and Class 6 @ $150 per acre – .01 of an acre ($2.00).The true value in money for the subject 1.87 acres is $372.00.The assessed value of the subject property as agricultural property is $45.[7]See, Agricultural Classification and Valuation, infra.



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.[8]

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.[9]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.[10]In the present case, the correct classification and valuation must be determined based upon the evidence in the record which addresses the agricultural use of the property under appeal.

Presumption In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.[11]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.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight”, the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.[12]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.[13] Complainant’s evidence[14] rebutted the presumption of correct assessment.

Agricultural Classification and Valuation

All real property used for agricultural purposes and devoted primarily to the raising and harvesting of crops is defined for assessment purposes as agricultural property.[15]The true value in of land used as agricultural property is the value the land has for agricultural use.[16] The subject property was devoted to raising and harvesting of hay during 2011.The land must therefore be classified as agricultural land and assessed at twelve percent of its true value in money.[17]The true value in money for the subject land is its Agricultural Land Productive Value under 12CSR30-4.010.See, FINDING OF FACT 7, supra.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Warren County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $45.

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, MO65102-0146, 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. [18]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Warren 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 July 17, 2012.




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 17th day of July, 2012, to:Joel Brett, 211 North Third Street, St. Charles, MO 63301, Attorney for Complainant; Kathryn Busch, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 104 W. Main, Suite E, Warrenton, MO 63383, Attorney for Respondent; Wendy Nordwald, Assessor, 101 Mockingbird Lane, Suite 202, Warrenton, MO 63383; Barbara Daly, Clerk, 101 Mockingbird Lane, Suite 302, Warrenton, MO 63383; Linda Stude, Collector, 101 Mockingbird Lane, Suite 200, Warrenton, MO 63383.


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


573-751-1341 Fax

[1] Complaint for Review of Assessment, BOE Decision, Exhibit H


[2] Complaint for Review of Assessment; BOE Decision.Commercial property is assessed at .32% of its appraised value – Section 137.115.5 RSMo


[3] BOE Decision; Exhibit J – Stipulated Fact 4


[4] Joint Stipulation of Facts was marked as Exhibit J by the Hearing Officer for purposes of identification.


[5] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[6] By Bench Order, dtd 6/18/12, the Hearing Officer ordered Respondent to provide the correct agricultural productive land value on the subject property.The Hearing Officer may inquire of any party on any matter before the Commission in a hearing.Section 136.430.2 RSMo.Agricultural property is assessed at 12% of its true value in money.Section 137.115.5 RSMo.Respondent provided via email (6/19/12 @12:58 pm) the agricultural class values for the subject property.


[7] $372.00 x .12 = $44.64, rounded to $45.


[8] Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.


[9] Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945


[10] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[11] 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)


[12] United Missouri Bank of Kansas City v. March, 650 S.W.2d 678, 680-81 (Mo. App. 1983), citing to State ex rel. Christian v. Lawry, 405 S.W.2d 729, 730 (Mo. App. 1966) and cases therein cited.


[13] Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959)


[14] Complainant’s Exhibits


[15] Section 137.016.1 (2) RSMo.


[16] Section 137.017. 1 RSMo.


[17] Section 137.115.5(2) RSMo.


[18] Section 138.432, RSMo.