KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty said it's going to take her office until mid-November to get through all the informal property assessment appeals they received.
At Wednesday's Board of Equalization meeting, she assured every appeal will be handled.
"We will get with everyone that has filed an appeal. We will deal with everyone with an informal (appeal), it's just going to take some time," Beatty said.
The Assessor's Office is dealing with nearly 22,000 informal appeals, and so far they've gone through about a third of them.
Separately, the Board of Equalization has received roughly 11,600 formal appeals so far, with 8,000 of them still not entered into the system.
Beatty couldn't give a total number of appeals because some are duplicates, meaning some people who filed informal appeals also filed formal appeals.
The deadline to file an assessment appeal is Sept. 3.
The timeline is drawing concern from community leaders and property owners.
"It's going to snowball, because, if they're getting a thousand new appeals per week and we have another three to four weeks for appeals, this number is going to be well in excess of 35,000 or 40,000 appeals," Preston Smith, a representative on the Board of Equalization for the Blue Springs School District said.
He is calling on the county to freeze the assessment process, after thousands of people saw their assessments double, triple, or even quadruple.
Property taxes are due Dec. 31, so many people are wondering if they'll even know what to pay should they not hear back on their appeal by then.
The county could implement some form of a refund process, if residents pay their tax bill but after the New Year it's determined they won their appeal.
Beatty said she wants to make sure everyone keeps their right to formally appeal, no matter how long it takes.
"The question is, do we want to blanket-send everyone a notice and tell them to go ahead and file a B.O.E. appeal? the board hasn't made that decision, so at this point I would tell everyone to hold tight," she said.
Beatty said her office will re-examine entire neighborhoods if there are a large amount of appeals are coming from a certain area. She said this is already happening, but to very few areas. She could not say where these neighborhoods are.
Also on Wednesday, the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) presented its analysis at the Guadalupe Center on how the 2019 assessment process will negatively impact the economy and small businesses.
Smith created a map showing the areas that received the highest assessments.
Pedro Zamora with the HEDC placed an overlay of a map of Kansas City Opportunity Zones onto Smith's map, and the two areas match up.
The area in the middle of the red dots show the area that received the highest reassessments. The colored areas are the Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are areas that need revitalization where large investors can come in and get incentives for reinvesting there.
Zamora said the high assessments will drive the price up on affordable tenant space, which will end up driving people out.
"Small businesses are in danger. Square foot, cost is a big factor of their operating budget. What does it mean to them? They can't afford that. They'll pass it on to the consumers by marking up their products," he said.
Community leaders are planning to meet again at the Guadalupe Center on Friday at 10:30 a.m.