School districts fund Jackson County property reassessments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Jackson County Board of Equalization questioned county officials Wednesday about the huge jump in assessed values that's left many homeowners upset.

Administrators say the county departed from a strategy of incremental increases.

Nearly 22,000 properties in Jackson County are undergoing informal review because of the jump in assessed values.

The board learned that in 2015 the county pursued a strategy of incremental increases to slowly bring assessed values up to match market value appraisals, as Missouri law requires.

But after a quiet reassessment in 2017, the county's chief administrative officer Edwin Stoll told the board that there were complaints, and the county needed to fully implement equalization. Ten of the 12 school districts in Jackson County helped fund that effort.

The result has been a disaster for homeowners who claim they may not be able to afford to stay in their homes.

"The residential parcels, you look at those, an awful lot are open lots," said Preston Smith, a board member representing the Blue Springs school district. "But sparsed in between those are houses built in 1890, 1910, 1920. I assume many have been remodeled. And then maybe you have one that sold, maybe for half a million dollars. That one sales price jacks everybody up in the neighborhood."

Smith claims more than 42,000 residential properties and 7,000 commercial properties have seen assessment increases of more than 50 percent.

The county's assessment director says if it had continued with incremental increases the county would have fallen further behind market values because homes have increased 13 percent in the last two years.

On Friday the county may consider extending the July 8 deadline for appealing values. Only about 3,300 informal reviews have been completed.

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