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Independence joins Lee’s Summit in filing lawsuit over Jackson County assessment process

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Posted at 11:10 AM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 12:10:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The City of Independence announced Friday it will be the second city — joining the City of Lee’s Summit — to sue Jackson County over the 2023 property assessment process.

The filing of the lawsuit is months in the making, according to a release Friday, which said that the Independence City Council first explored the idea of a lawsuit on July 17.

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That exploration asked the City Counselor if the city might consider joining an existing class action lawsuit or pursue one on its own. The council ultimately decided to pursue its own lawsuit which they anticipate filing within the next week.

“In the wake of continuous failures by Jackson County officials to correct their inconsistent and unfair processes related to the assessment of real property taxes, the Independence City Council has authorized City staff to retain legal counsel to initiate a lawsuit against Jackson County,” a joint statement from the Independence City Council read.

That counsel is Charles Hatfield with Stinson, LLP.

More than 54,000 Jackson County property owners filed a property tax appeal this year, while thousands of other individuals reported "difficulty with the appeal process," including excessive hold times when calling the Assessment Department to website errors, according to a resolution from the Jackson County Legislature.

"After years of Jackson County’s repeated failures to make correct real property tax assessments, the City of Lee’s Summit filed a lawsuit to get a court’s help to force the County and its officials to make accurate assessments as required by Missouri law," the city of Lee's Summit said Monday in a written statement announcing the lawsuit.