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Jackson County assessor addresses long lines for taxpayers at Truman Courthouse

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 08, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty told elected leaders changes are in the works to make it easier for residents to pay their personal property taxes, create accounts and complete other tasks within the county’s assessment and collections departments.

Lines have wrapped around the county courthouse in Independence, with customers attempting to complete tasks like acquiring certificates of non-assessment and paying personal property tax bills.

McCann Beatty said growth within the county, lack of space, short staffing and an increase in police departments cracking down on expired license plates have led to an increase in demand for the department’s services.

A ransomware attack last week, which knocked the tax collection system offline, only added to the issues.

Three new employees began working in the department Monday.

McCann Beatty said three new employees began working in the department Monday and three more will begin in two weeks, but she is still searching for seven to eight more employees.

Starting pay for the job begins at about $18.25 an hour. Job openings are listed online.

The department also is exploring ways for county residents to schedule appointments in advance so they can avoid lines.

Next month, McCann Beatty will bring a proposal forward to test using self-serve kiosks where residents can accomplish many of the same tasks they currently wait in line to complete.

The county could install kiosks at libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles locations and other areas outside the county's courthouses.

McCann Beatty said she believes a centralized location for all services is the most efficient approach.

She’s previously suggested the county retrofit a building it owns at 1300 Washington Street in Kansas City as a one-stop-shop for collections and assessment. She envisions a facility with enough space to have between 20-25 staff members helping customers.

However, some legislators are exploring whether to sell the building at 1300 Washington Street.

They argue it’s not centrally located and doesn’t provide enough parking.

“I don’t care where you put it right now," McCann Beatty told legislators Monday. “If you give me the space, I don’t care. It doesn’t have to be 1300 Washington. I’ll take an empty Kmart.”