‘I thought I was reading it wrong and then I felt betrayed’: Land owners unhappy with Jackson County tax hikes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of Jackson County homeowners have been complaining about the unforeseen property tax increases.

One land owner, who’s been in the area since 1983, said he expects a small increase every year, but what the 2019 tax assessment showed sent him into shock.

“I mean this is the biggest existential crisis I’ve had in decades,” Kip Wendler said. “And people don’t know it.”

Wendler couldn’t believe his eyes when he got this year’s property tax assessments in the mail.

“I thought I was reading it wrong, honestly,” Wendler said, “And then I felt betrayed.”

Wendler said he owns eleven properties in Jackson County. He plans to appeal 10 of the property tax assessments and has even hired his own appraisers.

“And they’ve said these are unrealistic,” Wendler said. “I’ve had two professional appraisers out one for commercial and one for residential.”

One of his plots that was worth $615 last year is now listed at $6,000 . That’s a ten-fold increase and adds more than $1,000 to his tax bill in just one year.

“That’s like going to the bank and finding out you’ve got $615 instead of $6,000 that would be the reverse effect,” Wendler said.

Wendler said there’s no way he can sell the lot, near Linwood and Forest, for that much money.

“The homeless make camp there and use drugs, illegal activities. It’s endless,” Wendler said. “I mean if someone want to give me $6,000 for these properties i’ll sell it for $6,000.”

Another property just across the way, it’s value rose from $6,000 to $16,000.

“I mean nobody in their right mind looking at this stuff could make these kind of assumptions and call them valid,” Wendler said.

Wendler is not alone with his frustration. Thousands of residents in Jackson County have been hit with unforeseen increases. Some tax assessments more than doubled in value for the coming year.

Jackson County Executive Frank White said he’s merely enforcing the laws. Earlier this week, White said he plans to allow the process to unfold, and perhaps, the next series of assessments will be lower.

Wendler said if they aren’t, it will force him and many more out of an area he’s spent decades working to improve.

“If these tax increases go through unchallenged and the assessor and Frank White doesn’t do something about it, it’s going to be a development killer over there,” Wendler said.

Appeals on higher bills are due Monday. However, property owners may have a little more time to turn them in. The Board of Equalization has a meeting this Monday on whether to extend the deadline to file an appeal. But again, that extension is not set in stone.



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