KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Jackson County lawmakers are questioning the latest property re-assessments.
The Assessor’s Office tells FOX4 the average increase is 30%, but Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca said, “There’s no proof that is the actual case. I think that they’re not being as transparent as they should be. I think they can’t justify, Tyler Technologies can’t justify, why some of these increases have occurred.”
Tyler Technologies is a Texas-based software company that entered into an $18 million contract with the county for the 2023 reassessment.
Abarca, who represents the county’s first district, said he requested data and statistics two weeks ago but has yet to receive that information.
When FOX4 reached out to the Assessor’s Office on Friday, they told us that it will provide that information to the legislature after it completes the certification process on July 1.
Meanwhile, Abarca explained that some homeowners are asking the local legislature to intervene, but that’s not possible since state statute requires assessors to reach market value. That ultimately means the power lies with the state. Still, some local lawmakers would like to see more local control on the issue.
Abarca sponsored SB190, which would advocate for senior citizens by making sure there’s a cap on how much a re-assessment can increase.
The bill passed both chambers and currently sits on Governor Mike Parson’s desk. But even if the governor were to sign it, it wouldn’t take effect until next year.
“It would provide some relief for seniors, but it wouldn’t be for this tax year. [That’s why it’s] incredibly important you appeal because it will be based off this tax year,” Abarca added.
During a free workshop on how to appeal your latest home valuation Thursday night, one woman brought up how County Executive Frank White only saw a 7% increase, which upset the hundreds in attendance.
FOX4 looked at public documents, available online, which show White’s home did increase by 7.3%. However, homes in his immediate area saw anywhere from a 5% increase up to 29%.
White also owns two other properties in Jackson County, which saw increases of 59% and 98%, respectively.
FOX4 emailed and called White’s office Friday for comment but have yet to hear back.
On Tuesday, FOX4 asked Gail McCann Beatty, Jackson County’s director of assessments, if it considers who owns a home when determining its fair market value.
“We only look at parcel numbers so that we cannot be biased against whose values are what,” she said. “I think people will always create a scenario to explain why things happen, but I promise you that no one looked at anyone’s name.”
As for McCann Beatty, she added that her valuation is determined by the State Tax Commission.
Some people have reported issues when trying to call the Assessor’s Office or fill out the form to appeal online.
Jackson County experienced some phone and internet issues Friday, but those have been resolved. If you’re still getting an error message, the Assessor’s Office said that’s likely because you’re entering more than one search field (your name and address), when you should only enter one of those. Keep in mind the final day to appeal is July 10.
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Finally, the department is looking for qualified assessors to fill 10 open positions, which include seasonal administrative assistants and seasonal residential appraisers. Qualified candidates need to have special expertise in appraisal, which the department said is difficult to find. They’ve received only a few applicants who qualify.
In a statement, it said, “We have had job fairs, attend other job fairs, advertised on the major news outlets, and have greatly increased our staff over the last two years. We have also put together a training program but for a person to qualify for a state certification or an IAAO designation, they must have a minimum of an associates degree and full training takes 2-3 years. We continue to look for avenues to hire qualified individuals.”