Millions of dollars intended for school districts, libraries and local governments continue to sit in the Boone County Collector's office while Ameren UE challenges its property tax rate.
Ameren claims Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker's office gave it too high of an appraised valuation of the company's natural gas distribution system. While the appeal works its way through the county and State Tax Commission, the Boone County Collector is holding onto $2.8 million of Ameren's property taxes. The amounts owed to local governments vary from several hundred dollars to more than $1 million.
The county assessor's office said the system was worth about $125 million, while Ameren said its real property value was no greater than $56 million, according to documents obtained by ABC 17 News. The State Tax Commission denied Ameren's appeal on April 10, agreeing with the county that the company's appraisal appeal was filed a week too late.
Data from the county collector shows that Columbia Public Schools is owed $1.8 million from the fund. Southern Boone County School District would get $250,000. The city of Columbia, which uses property taxes to fund police and fire operations, is missing $116,000.
|State of Missouri||$11,312.55|
|City of Ashland||$11,561.96|
|City of Centralia||$19,280.27|
|City of Columbia||$116,844.63|
|City of Hallsville||$4,823.88|
|Village of Hartsburg||$788.76|
|City of Rocheport||$583.93|
|City of Sturgeon||$2,436.27|
|Columbia School District||$1,815,318.09|
|New Franklin R-1||$8,862.53|
|Southern Boone County R-1||$250,595.19|
|Boone County Fire District||$20,173.22|
|Southern Boone County Fire District||$18,396.76|
|Columbia/Boone County Library||$110,921.53|
|Columbia Downtown CID||$1,313.84|
County Collector Brian McCollum said the natural gas distribution property taxes are the only ones from Ameren that the county is holding.
Ameren sent in its appeal of the county's 2018 valuation on July 2, two weeks after the deadline required by state law to challenge the appraisal. The county's Board of Equalization voted 4-2 against extending the deadline to allow Ameren to appeal, and the company took the issue to the State Tax Commission. The STC's chief counsel, Maureen Monaghan, heard the case on Feb. 28, and sided with Boone County that Ameren's appeal was untimely.
Ameren has until Friday to ask the STC for a review of Monaghan's decision. An Ameren spokesperson said on Thursday that the company has not yet asked for a review of the STC decision. That review would be handled by the three-person STC panel.
Boone County began taking property tax appeals on May 1. The county clerk's office, which receives those appeals, said the company has already filed an appeal for this year.
The company claimed that Boone County assessors overvalued their property, and that the valuation wasn't in line with that of the 24 other counties where Ameren has natural gas lines.