LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Property valuations are going up again this year. The Jackson County Assessor’s Office expects the average increase to be 30%.

To help Jackson County residents understand the assessment process, the Assessor’s Office is holding three public meetings where people can not only learn more about how their property’s are evaluated, but have their questions answered.

The first meeting happened at the Mid-Continent Public Library in Lee’s Summit Wednesday night.

About 100 people showed up to hear directly from Gail McCann Beatty, the director of assessment.

During the question portion, some people let their frustrations be known, including Jackson County resident Reola Taylor.

“It’s going to have to stop somewhere,” she told FOX4. “It’s got to, or everybody’s going to be with a tent living down on Jackson County Courthouse or City Hall.”

Taylor was one of the more vocal attendees. At 73, she said she’s retired but works part-time to help pay the bills. She told the Assessor’s Office that a big portion of her social security check goes to her property taxes.

“I just wish they would have something for seniors where it would be capped off,” she said.

McCann Beatty told attendees several times that they need to contact their state legislators if they want to see changes. Her office cannot cap what seniors pay since that has to be approved at the state level.

As a former state representative herself, Beatty told FOX4 she’s in contact with her old colleagues in Jefferson City.

“I explain to them the importance of trying to get a homestead exemption in Missouri because I think it’s important for our seniors and those on a fixed income,” Beatty said.

She also explained to those in attendance that when property values increase, levies should come down.

For those unfamiliar, a levy is a property tax rate set each year by local taxing jurisdictions like schools.

Beatty gave out several sheets of paper which told people what entities are included in their local tax jurisdiction.

Last year, Beatty said she met with local tax jurisdictions and told them what she thought property values would increase to and asked them to lower their levies to make sure people are being treated fairly.

“Early in the process, we send them estimated values and they set a preliminary value. Once we settle our values, we then send them again values in June, which gives them a chance to go through their budget process. After appeals are completed, we go through that process a third time,” Beatty said.

Still, with the average Jackson County residential property expected to increase 30% in 2023, many, like Taylor, are worried.

“I am very concerned I’m going to be priced out of my home, and I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said.

If you disagree with your new property value, you can file a formal appeal with the county or State Tax Commission.

Beatty’s office has also added additional steps people can take, like meeting with a realtor first. She came up with the idea after meeting with people last year and reached out to the Association of Realtors.

She met with brokers and asked if they’d be willing to offer their services, free of charge, to property owners and help them understand the values and where they come from, while also providing them with the documentation needed to make an appeal. They agreed, and a full list can be found on the Assessor’s website. You can also get a realtor who’s not on the list to help as well.

“I feel the same pain they do. I understand everyone is trying to make ends meet. Even as the assessor I try to go and advocate for people,” she said.

The other two meetings will happen in Kansas City and Blue Springs.

The Kansas City meeting is Monday, March 27 at the Morningstar Youth and Family Life Center at 2525 E 27th St from 5:30-7p.m.

The Blue Springs one will be Wednesday, March 29 at the Fleming Meeting Hall at 21906 SW Woods Chapel Road from 5:30-7p.m.