Hundreds appeal skyrocketing Jackson County property tax assessments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thousands of Jackson County residents will see an increase in their property tax assessment this year. So far, 600 people have appealed, including Hyde Park resident Christine Taylor-Butler.

"This is not affordable, our house is not worth this," she said as she looked over her bill. "Shocking, just shocking."

Taylor-Butler said her home's assessed value was just under $300,000 last year. This year, her home's assessed value soared to $600,000. That sent her estimated tax bill skyrocketing from $4,000 to now more than $9,000.

She immediately appealed online. She told 41 Action News none of the homes on her street, including a vacant home, have sold for anything higher than $350,000.

"A lot of those parcels have been undervalued for many years," explained Ed Stoll with the Jackson County Assessor's Office. He said only one-third of the county is surveyed in person every other year. This year, that included Hyde Park as well as other parts of the Kansas City, Hickman Mills, Center and Grandview school districts.

While only 15 percent of county residents will see an increase, more than half of the residents in the one-third of the county surveyed will see an increase.

Taylor-Butler doesn't mind paying taxes.

"Taxes are fair," she said. "We want to contribute."

But for a mother who had to pull her two children out of the unaccredited Kansas City, Mo., schools district, she's disappointed that she's slated to give 62 percent of her bill -- or more than $5,000 -- to the district. 

School districts, Stoll said, get the largest portion of county taxes collected.

The Center School District lost $2.7 million over the last few years as property values have fallen. If their voters hadn't approved a higher tax rate, the high-performing district would have been forced to close schools.

"The value of properties are absolutely related to the value or how public schools in that area are perceived," said Center Superintendent Bob Bartman.

For the next three weeks, Taylor-Butler will wait to see if her appeal worked.

"If we can't get it down, we'll have to move," she said.

You can appeal by phone or online. These informal appeals must be made by June 14.

For information on how to appeal your Jackson County property assessment, go to http://bit.ly/YDYCFC

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