Ongoing frustrations as property assessments begin hitting Jackson County homeowners

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Property assessments are hitting Jackson County mailboxes right now.  

This is the first valuation following what many felt was a disastrous assessment in 2019, leading to thousands of appeals. 

Some homeowners are still frustrated by the process, but the county is making sweeping changes to improve its assessments.

Tracy Graybill loves her Waldo neighborhood of 23 years. What’s not so lovable are the continued spike in property valuations, which at one point, forced her out.

“My house price went up ridiculous. It was a hundred percent, and it almost did me in,” Graybill said.
 
She’s looking at a jump again this year, and while she can swing it, worries for neighbors who might struggle with higher taxes in a pandemic and coming after 2019 assessments already quadrupled for some. 
 
“We’re having reassessment at time when house prices are completely inflated, totally artificial and not fair. It’s just not fair,” Graybill said.
 
Jon Hiesberger owns three Kansas City homes in the same zip code.  His own house and one rental jumped double-digits. The third, also a rental, which he says is larger and nicer, actually saw a small drop, despite strong neighborhood home sales. 

“There seems to be no method to the madness…There seems to be no one giving answers on how you are coming up with these numbers,” said Hiesberger.
 
Jackson County’s assessor insists a lot’s going into making the process better.   This year, it’s using a new method called “trending” to more accurately pinpoint home values. 
 
“What we did is we looked at each zip code. Took each zip code and divided it into five equal parts and then we looked at sales that fell within those intervals and therefore if your house fell into a $50,000 category, you got compared to other $50,000 properties within your neighborhood,” said Gail McCann Beatty, Jackson Co. director of assessment.

Most properties will see an average 7-to-15 percent increase this year, which avoids the automatic trigger of inspection for increases above 15-percent.  The county is also undertaking a massive two-year process, reviewing all 300,000 parcels in the county one-by-one before the next assessment in 2023. 

“That is going to make our values far more consistent, more equity throughout the county and it will get everyone on a level playing field,” McCann Beatty said.

The county is also getting its assessment to individual homeowners a full month earlier this year than in 2019, to give everyone more time to review it. 

If you don’t agree with the valuation, informal reviews are being accepted through the end of May, and you have until July 12th to submit a formal appeal. 

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