ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – If you’re still reeling from sticker shock after viewing your city of St. Louis property tax bill – you’re not alone.

Deputy Assessor Shawn Ordway says this is the most significant increase in at least a decade.

“When values were going up all the time, people were more used to getting notice from us every two years. But since the market crash in 2008, it really has been quite some time since we’ve had any significant increase,” Ordway told KMOX.

Related story: Residents Shocked by New Property Tax Bills

The main culprit is steadily rising property values in many neighborhoods – that’s why many bills are much higher, even though the city’s multiplier – the number that determines how much the city receives from taxes – actually shrank from $8.38 per $100 assessed value to $8.30.

Last year, city property owners paid $350 million total. This year that’s expected to go up to $371 million if the assessments are approved.

Ordway says residential properties are up an average of 12 percent, residences and businesses combined 7 percent. Of the $350 million last year, the city got only about $65 million of it, with the rest going to public schools, infrastructure, the zoo and more.

There have also been recent property tax ballot initiatives that have passed – some of which raise capital for MSD projects and send more money to senior care services among other needs.

Ordway says St. Louis tries to stay in line with fair market value, with assessments required to be accurate within 90 to 110 percent of a property’s FMV. But there may be factors the assessor can’t see when trying to determine that.

Until June 23, residents and business owners can make an appointment with the assessor’s office to argue their property value if they think it’s wrong.

“If there are issues with the property, you can bring us very descriptive photos of those issues understanding we don’t get to see the inside of your property, we do everything from the outside,” Ordway says. “So if there’s anything about the interior of the property, you would actually have to come tell us about that or show it to us.”

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