CHARLESTON - When it comes to assessing riverbank property leased out for mooring rights to riverboat companies, Mississippi County is one of a kind.
"This situation is unique to Mississippi County only," said County Assessor W.R. "Bill" Thompson in Thursday's county commission meeting.
Thompson said moorings in Pemiscot and St. Charles counties are actually gambling boat operations; St. Louis county and city have moorings, but being public entities are not taxed. Across the river, Cairo, Ill., does have similar mooring contracts for its riverbanks but does not have personal property tax to assess for.
Randy Turley, a lawyer for the State Tax Commission lawyer, confirmed there is no precedence, Thompson reported.
Thompson said he presented a proposed formula for assessing riverbank land leased for riverboat moorings to Chuck Trail, who works in the STC's ratio department. "He agreed that is was a viable formula," Thompson said.
Thompson said Trail did question the 5 percent vacancy deduction as it really isn't applicable; and the 10 percent deduction for expenses as overly generous.
As far as the reversion portion in the formula, which adds to the assessed value of the property prior to the lease, Thompson explained it adds the value of the contract to the land value.
"Because it is river frontage makes it valuable," said Thompson. "The contract itself is increasing the worth of the property."
"We'll use the formula and treat everyone the same," said Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
In other Mississippi County news:
* The county's tax rates will remain the same as they were last year.
After the mandatory rollback due to the sales tax and a voluntary rollback from general revenue's ceiling of 47.21 cents per $100 assessed value, the general revenue levy remains at 27 cents.
The Johnson grass tax rate will remain the same at its ceiling of 5 cents, and the road and bridge tax rate will stay at 32 cents per $100 assessed value, three cents below the ceiling of 35 cents.
County tax rates were not raised last year either, although the year before that the Johnson Grass levy was raised back to 5 cents.
* Commissioners reviewed a letter from the Missouri Public Service Commission advising AmerenUE intends to run electric distribution lines from New Madrid to East Prairie for quick restoration of services in the event of a power outage.
The project is to extend a total of 12.6 miles, 5.5 miles of which are outside AmerenUE's present certified area.
Those with objections must respond by Aug. 27, according to the Missouri Public Service Commission.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said it will increase AmerenUE's property taxes as power companies pay on the number of miles of power lines.
* Looking at figures through the end of July, the county's jail is running about 4 percent under budget, according to jail administrator Don Chance - which is good because revenues are also down about 4 percent.
The jail's total billing so far was $950,317 of which $825,500 was billed to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Chance reported.