KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the property assessment appeals process will be done in Jackson County before tax bills are sent out.
A bit of a standoff for funding to finish those appeals went unsolved again Monday with both Jackson County legislators and the County Executive’s Office critical of the other.
Joyce and Richard Miller, both 76, have been anxious about their property assessment and resulting taxes since they first received that assessment this spring with a 50% increase.
“Why did it take 3 or 4 months for you guys to finally get a hearing?” the Millers were asked outside the Jackson County Assessor’s Office Monday.
“I don’t know ask the county,” Joyce replied.
FOX4 cameras were allowed inside this summer when informal reviews and Board of Equalization hearings began for 54,539 Jackson County homeowners who saw big increases in their valuations.
But our cameras weren’t allowed inside Monday as the Millers say they waited two hours.
“They’ve got 50 computers and five people working,” Richard Miller said.
“He said they quit paying them is the reason they didn’t have anymore people in there,” Joyce Miller explained.
The County Executive’s Office blamed legislators for failing to act on $110,000 in funding to finish the job. The office said it had to lay off BOE hearing officers as a result.
On Monday, County Administrator Troy Schulte presented an updated plan of hiring 10 seasonal workers in the Assessment Office.
“We’re going to try to replace what the workload of the Board of Equalization hearing officers was with more of an informal review, trying to get back to where we are touching 300 cases a day,” Schulte said.
The funding was tabled as legislators pressed county leaders for more information.
“We’re trying to get in touch with the BOE to find out what their needs are and if this is going to help them in the process and if ultimately the taxpayers are going to get the relief they need from these officers. Because if we are just providing individuals to add another layer of obstruction, there’s no reason for that,” County Legislator Manny Abarca said.
Legislators only vote on the issue was to tell Jackson County and the Assessor’s Office to finish the appeals process before tax notices need to be sent out next month — though they admitted at this point it’s not likely to happen.
“I’ll go ahead and vote for this. Why not? But this is just one of those meaningless ordinances that we are so good at that will be completely completely ignored,” County Legislator Charlie Franklin said.
“The process should have been done right to begin with. We wouldn’t need these meaningless resolutions expressing our intent if the process worked and it doesn’t,” Abarca replied.
Abarca said if appeals aren’t finished by the time property taxes come out, homeowners might have to pay the higher property tax before Dec. 31 and then seek refunds — though he’s not even sure that’s legal.
The Jackson County Assessment Office referred all questions to Abarca and the County Executive’s Office.