INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Plaintiffs represented by attorney Ken McClain are suing Jackson County after they claim they did not receive their increased assessment values until after June 15 of this year.

Tuesday, McClain filed a temporary restraining order against the county from collecting any of the plaintiff’s property taxes that are due by December 31. McClain was surprised to see property tax bills being available to pay the following day.

“It’s very suspicious because generally they don’t send them out until at the earliest November,” McClain said of the county in an interview with FOX4 Thursday.

“So, getting this early is very efficient, and if there’s anything that we know about the assessment department currently is they’re not efficient.” 

People have until November 30th to have their processing fees waived if they pay their taxes with a credit or debit card. Because a hearing on McClain’s case is set for Tuesday, November 2nd, he has some advice for county residents.

“We don’t want people to be paying at this point in time unless they’re paying under protest,” he said. 

McClain says residents should wait a couple of weeks to pay their property tax bills while the courts decide whether McClain’s temporary restraining order is put into place.

“They just came out as of yesterday and last night, I went and paid mine,” Grandview resident Leonard Greene said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday.

Greene paid his property tax bill Wednesday and did not file an appeal. He says his bill went from about $2,700 in 2022 to $4,200 this year.

“Not really,” Greene said when asked if he could afford to pay that large increase. “But you do what you have to while you have it, so I’m trying to take care of as much as I can now, so that later on, it’s not, ‘Hey you owe this,’ and then you get penalties, and all kinds of different things if you miss deadlines.”

Business owners in the city have heard about this property assessment and tax issue from their customers.

“I definitely think that they should wait if there’s a chance that they could pay less money,” Hair Squared owner Susan Guthrie said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday.

“Since 2020, Jackson County has been waiving the online convenience and electronic check fees for property tax payments made through the County’s official portal, myJacksonCounty. It was determined last year that these fee waivers would be in effect for the 2023 tax season, specifically during the month of November,” Jackson County Executive’s Office Public Information Officer Marshanna Smith said in a statement sent to FOX4 Thursday afternoon.

“Furthermore, our Collection Department diligently plans for the tax season, setting a timeline for tax bill generation and mailing months in advance. Our team has successfully adhered to this timeline, maintaining consistency with previous years.

The County encourages taxpayers to pay their bills in full, even if they have not yet had their property value appeal hearing by December 31. In cases where an appeal hearing results in a reduced tax amount after a bill has been paid, taxpayers will receive a refund for the overpaid amount.”

What about people who pay their property taxes through escrow? McClain says those people’s monthly bills could be much higher next year.

“It’s our belief that the escrows have not paid yet,” he said. “If the order goes into effect next Thursday, that’s sufficient time to give notice to all the escrow agents not to pay the tax until it’s identified that they ought to pay it.”

A spokeswoman for McClain says a hearing on this issue is set for Thursday, November 2nd at 9 a.m. Property tax payments are due December 31st.