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Jackson County residents hope to beat the clock as appeal deadline nears for property tax assessment

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 06, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo — The deadline for Jackson County residents to appeal their property tax assessments is Monday, July 10th.

In order to beat the clock, hundreds of property owners have been flocking to county offices.

“It’s just the waiting game. We got here not knowing what to expect,” said Brandon Chism. “Actually, we are about to take a flight to go out of the country, so like, we had to squeeze it in cause we leave early, like 5am tomorrow.”

Chism and his wife were shocked to see the value of their house went up by $12,000. While it is an added inconvenience, he is mostly concerned for senior citizens.

“You’re on a fixed income and it makes it really hard,” said Marcia Dutcher. “Fix your system so that we don’t have to be so upset at fighting for what our rights are.”

Dutcher has lived in Jackson County for almost 50 years and has never seen a tax increase like this.

She has three properties — one saw an 80 percent increase and the other two saw whopping 400 percent increases.

“It was ridiculous knowing that your property hasn’t increased, the value hasn’t increased that much,” said Dutcher.

Stephanie Walker found out her taxes doubled.

But for her, the biggest question is the “how?”

She says she is paying the most in taxes out of all her neighbors.

Walker said she is paying more for her three bedroom house than her neighbor with a four-bedroom house.

“That’s my biggest issue. Why the big discrepancy and how do they come to the value of people’s houses if they’ve never even seen the inside?” said Walker.

She also said there has been a lack of transparency and she feel blindsided by the increase.

“Let us know that this is coming or let us know that there may be an increase," Walker said. "And let us know how you come to the increase and let us know how you assess each property. Don’t just spring this on us. That’s not right."

In hopes to alleviate some of their burden, Jackson County legislator Manny Abarca introduced four new pieces of legislation.

Abaca disagrees with the county’s current approach at making revenue.

“That’s not gonna be articulated from the county executive. He wants to brag about not directly increasing taxes — indirectly increasing taxes is also a tax increase,” said Abarca. “The school districts are unfortunately a scapegoat that he’s using to leverage a distraction.”

The first two pieces of Abarca's proposed legislation are already on the agenda for Monday's legislative agenda.

The committee will consider 1.) a resolution capping the increase at 14.99 percent, 2.) a resolution in support of Missouri Senate Bill 190, which freezes the increase on property taxes for people ages 65 and older.

“The goal is to move this as quickly as my colleagues will allow it to happen,” said Abarca.

He added that this issue warrants future conversations. He would like to see more authority at the county level when it comes to making such decisions on tax rates.

“If we are gonna stick to our laurels and 90 percent of values as the state statute, we need to bring that discussion to our level. Can the state give us the authority to set our own evaluations and how to get there,” said Abarca. “If we were able to bring that 90 percent of value law to a localized decision that will allow rural counties and urban counties to set their levies and assessment rates at different rates.”

Monday’s meeting will be held at 3pm at the Jackson County Courthouse. It will be open to the public. Legislators will introduce and read the other two resolutions that 1) extends the appeals deadline 2) considers hiring from the outside to reassess the values of properties in Jackson County.

“The two greatest opportunities for you to actually impact your December 1st bill is to appeal by July 10th. As of right now the deadline hasn’t been moved,” said Abarca. “The other is to do your informal hearings, and these are the conversations that are occurring downstairs and at 1300 Washington about can we negotiate a lower price."