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Neighborhood groups unite ahead of Jackson County property assessment deadline

Jackson County assessment neighbors.jpg
Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 22:44:24-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Westside neighbors united Friday with eastside neighborhoods to talk about the looming Jackson County property assessment appeal deadline.

The effort to unify community groups from areas that have seen the highest property assessment increases has gathered steam in the last few weeks.

Various Westside organizations have helped people fill out appeals all week and led the effort since June, but say they still haven't reached everyone.

"The county does not (have) bilingual forms"Westside Neighborhood Association President Ricky Hernandez said. "I did the forms. I printed them out personally and passed them out to hundreds of people."

The Association talked with pastors and ministers and decided to hold a town hall Friday at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.

The groups are askling that the appeal deadline, which the Board of Equalization already pushed back three weeks to July 29, be extended even further into September.

"At least until the 7th (Sept. 7)," Hernandez said. "We need everyone to get involved. The whole Jackson County."

Many of the people seeing increases more than 50% are low income, elderly, on a fixed income or all of the above.

"The numbers are so all over the board and skewed, we don't have a clear idea of is this market value or not?" said Preston Smith, who represents the Blue Springs School District on the Board of Equalization, said.

Smith runs a real estate data analysis company. He's waiting for the county to respond to two proposals he submitted.

One would cap residential increases at 9.5%. The Board of Equalization tabled his proposal and requested more information. He submitted a response Monday.

"We need to face the fact ... that very serious mistakes were made in the 2019 assessment and we have the power and the responsibility to fix them," Smith said, in part. "The community demands that from us and it is a reasonable expectation."

Smith said his proposal would generate around $3 billion more than what the county got during the 2017 reassessment process. Under the current county reassessment configuration, the county would bring in about $7 to $8 billion more than 2017, he said.

"No promise of another hearing anytime soon, but I've done everything they've asked," Smith said. "I had three different attorneys look at the proposal. We know it's a solid, thorough analysis and a very complete proposal back to them."

Smith also asked for $4,000 from the county to do a complete reassessment of the whole county. He said he's identified a programming company out of Boston who could do it in two days and even offered to do it himself for free.

Smith said he wants to take a Geographic Information System (GIS) application to map out all 22,600 residential sales and come up with an estimated market price for every residential property. He said that's not going to be a hard number, but he hopes people can have an idea of what the market value really is.

Smith hasn't heard from the county yet, but he presented his findings at Friday's meeting.

He showed slides of his findings, including a 50-mile stretch in the inner city where residences increased by more than half.

The county, on average, saw an increase of 14%, but many property owners have seen assessed property values more than double or triple this year prompting outrage and concern.

The Board of Equalization started reviewing appeals but have thousands more to get through.

The Jackson County Assessor's Office also has at least 22,000 informal appeals to weed through, and there's skepticism that the office is up to the task.