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Jackson County Executive White chastises Mayor Lucas over reassessment criticism

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Posted at 12:23 PM, Jul 05, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As anger and confusion swirls among many Jackson County property owners roiled by skyrocketing property reassessments, County Executive Frank White Jr. put Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas in his sights.

White sent Lucas a letter June 26, which took exception to the mayor’s criticism of the county’s reassessment process.

“Your statements have, I fear, sown seeds of confusion and mistrust among our residents, and have misrepresented the legal and equitable necessity of our reassessment process,” White wrote.

Lucas has publicly discussed his own property assessment — which jumped from $301,000 to $492,970, a nearly 64% increase — and called on Jackson County to help homeowners facing massive property-tax hikes after seeing reassessed property values spike.

He has suggested more gradual increases or giving property owners to make payments in installments.

White also highlighted Lucas’ property, noting that he bought it for $478,000 in 2021 when it was valued at $301,000 for tax purposes, demonstrating the historic undervaluing of properties in some Jackson County neighborhoods.

White noted that Missouri law requires each county to undertake the reassessment process every two years and that Jackson County — whose property values haven’t kept pace with neighboring Cass, Clay and Platte counties during the 21st century — has been working to fix years of chronic undervaluing.

“Your residence is in a predominantly white neighborhood that has been undervalued for many years,” White wrote. “The communities in these neighborhoods are among those who stand to benefit most from your proposed freeze or gradual increase in valuations. However, this perpetuates socio-economic disparities and exacerbates the tax burden on residents whose properties have been overvalued for years, if not decades.”

White asked for Lucas to retract his criticism and “publicly acknowledge the likelihood of your proposal to violate state law.”

Lucas did not reply to White’s letter, according to his office, but he’s hardly the only person who’s been critical of Jackson County’s latest stab at reassessment.

The Board of Equalization, which hears formal appeals of property-tax valuations, announced several workshops this month to help Jackson County property owners navigate the appeal process.

Real-estate agents throughout the Kansas City area also have been helping homeowners pull together information for appeals.

Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca also has proposed setting aside the current reassessments, while some property owners have filed a class-action lawsuit against the county.