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Deadline for Jackson County property assessment appeals looming

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-07 23:22:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The clock is ticking for residents hoping to appeal their property tax assessments in Jackson County.

The deadline is Monday at 5 p.m. unless the county board of equalization decides at a special meeting that day to extend it.

A group of 70 people, including property owners, neighborhood leaders and a state representative, met Sunday at the Guadalupe Centers to talk about the steps that can be taken now and in the future to remedy the confusion and anger.

The immediate plan, orchestrated by the Westside Neighborhood Association, is to flood Monday's special meeting of the Jackson County BOE and convince members to extend the appeals deadline.

"This isn't our first rodeo. We've been through this before," Alice Gomez, a member of the neighborhood group, said Sunday.

Several people in the crowd expressed frustration over the complex appeals process, which can include an informal appeal to the assessor's office and a formal one to the board of equalization.

The assessor's office is still making its way through the 21,000 informal appeals filed, so many homeowners are filing with the BOE before they learn the results of the informal process.

"There's a lot of confusion, and that's how they like it. Keep you confused and in the dark," Jerry Roseburrough of the Westside Neighborhood Association said.

An attorney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri came to the meeting to answer homeowners' questions about the process. The organization is partnering with several realtors to help people obtain comparable sales for their appeals.

Missouri State Representative Judy Morgan also attended, telling constituents she will look into drafting a bill that would limit how much assessed value can go up every two years.

However, that's not an immediate fix.

"There's not much the state can do in terms of legislation until we get back in session in January," she said.

In the meantime, Morgan urged the crowd to contact the Jackson County Legislature and County Executive Frank White.

"I think he would have the authority to redo it," Morgan said, referring to White's oversight of the assessment process.

That's what most of the people in the room hope will happen.

"Right now, he's being very obstinate and saying there's no errors, I refused to order it redone," Brad Duffy of Legal Aid said. "The county legislature has not held him accountable for this."

The Jackson County Legislature did write a letter to White, asking him to discard the property reassessments.

White has defended the process, blaming sharp spikes on a rebounding real estate market and decades of property being undervalued. He also maintains he can not call for the process to be redone or for property values to be frozen at last year's level.

"Their request is illegal and would cause many to pay more than their fair share of taxes, because those whose property is properly assessed would continue to be responsible for their taxes, and would have to pay for those whose property is undervalued," White wrote in a statement on June 28.

The board of equalization will meet Monday at 1 p.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse to decide on extending the deadline for property assessment appeals.