On Tuesday, 5 On Your Side spoke with St. Louis City residents shocked over their property value reassessments. Some more than doubled. St. Louis County residents also received letters, detailing their new estimated property values.
This year, for the first time in at least a decade, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman said property values were up in St. Louis County across the board. But for some county residents, these higher numbers are good news.
It wasn't long ago that the whole world witnessed downtown Ferguson go up in angry flames.
"I think it did scare people away from coming in and relocating into Ferguson," longtime resident Cindy Tharp said, "and it did get a couple residents who've been here, thinking that property value was going to continue to go down, and decide to leave to go to other communities."
But now, less than three years later, these same city blocks are bustling and back to normal. Evidence of this revival came in the form of a letter, just mailed home to residents. On average, the Ferguson-Florissant school district saw a 4 percent property value increase.
"If property value goes up, that means there's life back in where you're living,” Tharp said.
For this resident, who also volunteers at the I Love Ferguson store, the few hundred dollars more she owes this year is ultimately a small price to pay.
“If you're proud of where you live, and feel your house has value, you'll stay,” she said.
The increased property taxes are also a point of pride for resident Blake Ashby.
"You look around and it's rolling hills and beautiful homes," he said. "Two- and 3-acre lots, so we were happy our values were going up.”
Zimmerman said it's not just the Ferguson-Florissant area that's increased. On average, St. Louis County properties have gone up seven percent in value, the assessor said, thanks to the real estate market finally rebounding since 2008.
"It’s really good news for the whole region that in general," Zimmerman said. "Everybody's homes are selling for more than they used to sell for.”
Another big success story is the Riverview Gardens School District. Property values there plummeted 25% after the economic downturn. This year, they're up slightly, with a 0.5 percent increase.
If you feel your property value assessment is incorrect, contact the St. Louis County Assessor's Office as soon as possible.