By Gloria Lloyd
The St. Louis County Board of Equalization voted last week to extend the deadline for filing property assessment appeals until July 29, but only if residents tried and failed to file an appeal July 8.
The initial deadline for online appeals was 11:59 p.m. July 8, but the county’s form closed at 5 p.m.
An employee realized the error that day and stayed until 11 p.m. fielding calls from frustrated residents trying to appeal.
The equalization board had been informally taking appeals from residents who said they tried to file that day and couldn’t, but County Executive Sam Page urged the board July 16 in his county executive’s report to the County Council to extend the deadline for all appeals so that taxpayers could get their time with the board.
It was unclear how the Board of Equalization will actually investigate or enforce whether residents tried to file an appeal July 8.
“As things now stand, and based on the board’s actions yesterday, the deadline for filing appeals to the BOE is now July 29, but only for those who attempted to file online before midnight on July 8. Those folks can file online, by USPS or in person until July 29,” said Sarah Siegel, a spokeswoman for the county assessor’s office. “Our staff is working very hard to carry out the board’s newest direction and serve the taxpayers to the best of their ability.”
The board’s website does not state anything about the deadline extension, and the county’s online appeals form redirects to a page saying that appeals are closed.
A request to the board for meeting minutes and votes from its two most recent meetings was not returned by press time.
The three-person board will hold 20,000 hearings before the August deadline.
It was also unclear if the board can legally overrule a state law that says the board “shall” take appeals until the second Monday in July.
Assessment happens every two years under state law.
“Our website was inundated with constituents attempting to meet that deadline — they were met with slow speeds, technical glitches and at one point, a short website outage,” Page said. “Several constituents have shared their frustration with our office. We also found out there was not consistent messaging with the public regarding the deadline….”