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'They should've bit the bullet': Westside KCMO homeowner reacts to county denying tax relief for seniors

Paul Rojas
Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 09:19:32-04

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The Jackson County Legislature spent the majority of a meeting on Monday going back and forth with the county's assessor's office about flaws and admitted errors in the property assessment process.

A focal point was the reality of what this tax season will look like for homeowners over 62.

"People feel panicked to the point where some seniors in our hearings have said they might lose their homes," Jackson County 2nd District At-Large Legislator Donna Peyton said.

In his 135-year-old home, surrounded by decades of memories, Paul Rojas couldn't imagine losing what he's built.

"Like everything else, I have to cut," Rojas said. "I'm a widower now and naturally when you lose your spouse, you lose half your income."

He's among the more than 54,000 homeowners who appealed this year.

"A very high [tax assessment]; very high," Rojas said. "I'm ashamed to say how high it was."

Without the county legislature freezing property taxes for seniors, he said finances are going to be tight.

"Well, senior citizens are going to have to choose between medicine, groceries, light, gas and water," he said.

Time was the legislatures reason for why they couldn't enforce Missouri Senate Bill 190 that would keep taxes lower for seniors, but Rojas said time is something some of his neighbors don't have.

"I've been blessed so far even though I struggled," Rojas said. "I have witnessed people who are definitely losing their house because of this fiasco."

Missouri SB 190 leaves it up to individual counties to enforce it. Jackson County is still considering making that happen for 2024.