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Jackson Co. residents could get more time to file property assessment appeal

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Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 09:15:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Jackson County, Missouri, assessor Gail McCann Beatty explained the reassessment process to the Board of Equalization on Wednesday.

She also fielded tough questions from the board and the packed room of frustrated residents.

By the afternoon, the BOE said they'd consider extending the July 8 deadline to file a formal appeal.

More errors also came to light at the meeting.

LISTEN: Officials struggle to answer property tax questions

"After the meeting with the county administrator, it seemed to be we've reached the first step," Preston Smith, who represents the Blue Springs school district on the BOE, said. "They recognized there's a problem, and they also recognize we need to fix it."

Smith told Beatty he found thousands of properties were assessed incorrectly.

Smith does consulting work and says he's very familiar with this type of data.

"In all, the missed calculations are about 20,000 and it's about 12,000 data corruption errors of parcel IDs and duplicates. It should've never happened," Smith said.

He said some residential properties were taxed as commercial and vice versa.

Beatty said she hasn't seen it but will look into it.

"I want these values correct just like everyone else does," Beatty said.

The county works with consulting firm John Q. Ebert and Associates, but Smith questions why they didn't find the errors he did.

"You've got an out-of-state consultant on a contract for $670,000 and you definitely didn't get your value, but you bring me in and I didn't ask for a nickel and I can find this in 25 to 30 hours of work," Smith said.

The county had to correct a report that shows which properties had 50 percent increases. That report is more than 900 pages long and was filed July 1.

The refiling is why Beatty's office is facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Christine Taylor-Butler and at least 200 more properties.

Taylor-Butler lives in the 700 block of Manheim Rd. in Hyde Park. The suit says the assessor's office listed her house as 5,074 square feet, but it's only 3,900 square feet.

READ: Class action lawsuit against Jackson County

"Gail McCann Beatty had sent a physical appraiser to walk around my house and showed me the property card. It hasn't been updated since the 50s. It said I have a boiler, and I don't. It says I have six bedrooms, and I don't," Taylor-Butler said.

Taylor-Butler says despite the appraiser telling her there were errors, her informal appeal was denied at the same time the appraiser was at her house. She is scrambling to file a formal appeal with the BOE.

"Every time we talk to the assessor's office there's an excuse," Taylor-Butler said.

The county has a serious staffing shortage, and the legislature agreed they'd support sending more staff to Beatty's office.

Out of the 21,700 informal appeals, Beatty's office has gone through 3,300. She says they will go through every one.

More formal appeals are rolling in.

"We're going to be looking at about 30,000 appeals. And estimating that if we try to docket anywhere between 150 to 200 appeals a day, we will be here til 2020," Melinda Taylor, a specialist with the BOE, said.

You can file a formal appeal by going to the county's website. The deadline is July 8.