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Missouri state auditor 'ready' to perform comprehensive audit of Jackson County property assessment process

Jackson County appeal workshop
Scott Fitzpatrick
Posted at 2:10 PM, Aug 22, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Legislature voted 8-1 Monday to invite Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick to conduct a "full comprehensive" audit of the county's 2023 property assessment process.

On Tuesday, the Missouri State Auditor's Office confirmed it received the request and Fitzpatrick said his office is ready to conduct a full audit of the Jackson County Legislature.

"We are ready to perform a comprehensive review that we hope will give taxpayers some much-needed answers on why Jackson County continues to see increases in assessed value that are significantly higher than what we see in other counties," Fitzpatrick shared in a written statement.

The audit request comes after over 54,000 Jackson County residents filed a property tax appeal and thousands of others reported "difficulty with the appeal process," ranging from excessive phone hold times to website errors, per the resolution.

The approved legislation also says that "public confidence in the fairness, accuracy, and accessibility of the appeal process" is "vital to good governance."

The legislature recommends the audit to look into the contracting process, property assessment results, project management and the testing and impact of the 2023 assessment. Fitzpatrick was also asked to make recommendations for improvements to the process and review the organizations and systems involved.

"I want to thank the Jackson County Legislature for acting to approve a resolution authorizing my office to conduct an audit of the assessment process," Fitzpatrick stated.

Fitzpatrick announced an initial review of the assessment process on Aug. 4, but a full audit requires either a request from the Jackson County Legislature or a citizen's petition with the number of signatures equaling 5% of total votes cast in the 2022 governor’s race.

As part of the initial review, the auditor's office requested documents and details from Jackson County by Aug. 18.

"The county did respond to our request by the deadline and they are working with us to ensure we have all the requested materials," a spokesperson with the Missouri State Auditor's Office said.

On Aug. 3, the legislature passed a resolution confirming it would withhold $6 million from Tyler Technology, the software firm hired to generate county property values, until the legislature is "satisfied that Tyler has met their performance obligations."