River City Casino property values settled

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman announced the assessor’s office and Pinnacle Entertainment, owner of River City Casino, reached an agreement regarding the 2010, 2011 and 2012 property value appeals brought by the casino.

“I am very pleased to say that we have resolved River City’s value disputes, and reached an amicable agreement that is fair to all involved,” Zimmerman stated in a news release. “Our job is simple: determining the fair market value of all properties. That job is the same whether the property is a home or a multimillion dollar business. No one should get an unfair windfall; this agreement makes sure that the casino will be assessed justly and will pay its fair share of property taxes.”

By resolving the county’s value dispute with the casino, this settlement avoids a battle before the State Tax Commission that would be lengthy, unpredictable and expensive both for taxpayers and for the casino, according to the release. The settlement also gives certainty to providers of public services — notably the Hancock Place School District and the Lemay Fire Protection District — that must set their tax rates based on property values.

Large value changes can have a huge impact on tax rates for other property owners served by these districts, the release stated. The settlement eliminates the risk of large tax increases on other properties that might have occurred if the casino were to prevail on appeal, the release stated.

Rather than face uncertainty and the potential for years of litigation, public service providers can now set their tax rates with confidence based on the fair market value:

The real estate values for 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively, are: $177,359,500; $177,359,500; and $177,359,500.

The personal property values for 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively, are: $57,698,880; $69,725,040; and $57,597,310.

The personal property value is lower in 2012, according to the release, because of depreciation of certain personal property assets.

Zimmerman expressed confidence that, with the tax dispute resolved, River City once again will be recognized for its leadership as a community partner in the Lemay area and for St. Louis County as a whole.

“Because of this settlement, River City will pay approximately $7.5 million dollars in property taxes for 2012, helping to support their community and providing peace of mind for all involved,” Zimmerman stated in the release. “With our disagreement behind us, I look forward to enjoying a meal at Burger Brothers sometime soon and saluting the positive contributions that River City has made to the economic development of South St. Louis County.”