ST. LOUIS – Taxpayers passing through the St. Louis County Government Center in St. Ann describe one of the more difficult aspects of the holiday season on Wednesday.

“I was paying, actually both personal property tax and real estate tax,” said Ethel Dodson, a Hanley Hills resident.

Dodson said fulfilling her civic duty is a year-long effort.

“Starting in January, I start saving for December. That’s what I always do,” she said. “Start in January, start putting a little money aside, and then when December comes hopefully, you’re ready.”

“Let’s just say what it is. “This is bonkers,” said Jake Zimmerman, St. Louis County Assessor.

Zimmerman said he feels the taxpayer’s pain.

“I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.

Zimmerman said used car values have spiked, which means the average St. Louis County household is paying $65 to $70 more per vehicle in personal property tax this year.

“It’s the NADA. It’s Missouri state law. It’s the National Auto Dealers Association guide,” Zimmerman said. “Which is the same as the Blue Book. It’s the thing that the guy at the car dealership is using when he tells you what you’re going to get for your trade-in. He’s working off their national guidebook, and we’re using that exact same guidebook. What happens to your tax bill depends on where you live. Because remember, those tax dollars don’t go to St. Louis County. They go to the school district and the fire department, along with a bunch of other smaller places.”

Zimmerman said he’s in favor of changing the laws that govern the system, but noted that change has to happen at the state level.

“My guess is the legislature was just never prepared for the idea that this would happen,” he said. “Now it has happened, and I’m sure we’ll see proposals in Jefferson City to fix it next year. I just wish they would’ve fixed it this year.”

Dodson said she is choosing to find the silver lining in an otherwise unenjoyable task.

“The best thing was the line. It wasn’t long,” she said.

To pay your St. Louis County personal property taxes, click here.