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Document: Cole County Assessor's Office 2020 Property Value Report of Union Electric Company

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Document: Cole County Assessor's Office 2020 Property Value Report of Gerbes Supermarket, West Truman Boulevard

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Document: Cole County Assessor's Office 2020 Property Value Report of Gerbes Super Store, Schotthill Woods Drive

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The Cole County Board of Equalization on Monday upheld the values of commercial properties whose assessments had been challenged for 2020.

Board of Equalization members include the three Cole County commissioners; two representatives from Jefferson City government staff if the property is in the city limits; and two at-large positions, which require someone familiar with real estate, building construction, the banking industry or land title business.

Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer chairs the board, but he and Assessor Chris Estes are not voting members.

If dissatisfied with the board's decision, a property owner can appeal to the State Tax Commission and, thereafter, the circuit court.

Commercial assessments

Ameren Missouri appealed the value of its natural gas property for 2020.

The company continues to appeal its assessments for 2013-19. Cole is one of 16 counties where Ameren has gas line equipment. The counties have argued over the amounts mainly due to the potential for lost tax revenue for local school districts should Ameren's numbers be upheld. Ameren has settled with six of those counties, but Cole and nine other counties continue to contest the figures.

Assessor's office representatives advised the Board of Equalization to uphold the assessment so Cole County can continue to argue to the Tax Commission that the original assessment is correct.

The board left Ameren's 2020 market value at $52.4 million. Ameren claimed the value should be $26.5 million.

Ameren was billed a total of $1, 047,514 in property tax for 2019, according to the Cole County Assessor's Office.

Also appealing its 2020 assessments was the Kroger Company, which owns the Gerbes store on Schotthill Woods Road and West Truman Boulevard in Jefferson City.

Assessor's office representatives said the assessments were based on local land sales and were found not to be above market value.

The board voted to uphold the values determined by the assessor's office. For the Schotthill Woods Road location, the assessor put the market value at $2.8 million Kroger claimed the value was $2.1 million. For the West Truman location, the assessor had a market value of $2.4 million; Kroger claimed the value was $1.7 million.

The 2019 property tax bill for Gerbes on Schotthill Woods Road was $59,167 and for Gerbes on West Truman Boulevard was $50,373, according to the Cole County Assessor's Office.

Residential assessments

The assessor's office recently concluded fewer than 10 informal hearings with residential property owners regarding 2020 assessments, Estes said.

"There's no statutory provision for doing these, but we want to know if there is a problem and certify values that can save both sides from going through an appeal," he said. "Ninety-five percent of the time our values are being upheld by the BOE or the State Tax Commission if they are taken to those entities.

Estes said his office sends out notices only for increases, not if there was a decrease in value or if the assessed value stayed the same.

Notices were sent out for 789 of 34,795 parcels in Cole County. While 243 properties saw a value decrease, the rest, 33,763, remained the same.

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