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Ordinance to freeze property taxes for seniors in 2023 fails Jackson County Legislature

Complexity cited for hold-up
Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-11 19:46:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An ordinance that would have frozen property taxes for seniors in 2023 did not pass the Jackson County Legislature on Monday.

“How in the world can we justify waiting one year to help senior citizens stay in their homes?" asked Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a realtor who spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 190 in July. The bill took effect Aug. 28.

SB 190 allows counties to enact a provision that basically freezes property taxes for homeowners ages 62 or older who qualify for Social Security retirement. Despite Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. calling for the “immediate implementation and improvement” of the bill in July, Ordinance 5774 failed.

The measure was sponsored by Sean Smith, who was the only yes vote.

County staff members explained the complexities of the law and a necessary application process make it impossible to implement in time for this year's tax bill.

“It would be a huge relief for us if that (Ordinance 5774) could be passed,” said Lesli Goodman, a property owner who would qualify for the rebate program.

But, hope remains long-term for SB 190 in Jackson County.

Ordinance 5787 gives Jackson County the option to implement the bill in 2024. Before taking a formal vote, legislators continue to fine-tune the ordinance.

"I think seniors need a break — I think everyone’s in favor of that. I think what we have to figure out now is which is the best way to do it. When the state sent it out, they sent it out with no guidelines, and everyone’s left to figure out what’s the best way to do it," explained White, who previously said the county was on the clock.