BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Blue Springs will join one of its neighbors to become the third city now suing Jackson County over property tax assessments.
On Monday, the Blue Springs City Council unanimously voted to join the city of Independence’s lawsuit against the county.
“The mayor and city council are authorizing legal action to ensure the residents of Blue Springs receive a fair and consistent process for the assessment of real property in compliance with state law,” the Blue Springs City Council said in a statement Thursday.
“We feel it is necessary at this time to take action and represent the citizens of Blue Springs against these unfair assessments amid growing unresolved complaints.”
The council’s move comes after it had already adopted a resolution in July, encouraging Jackson County Executive Frank White and the county legislature to keep the 2023 property tax assessments the same as the year before. The county has not done so.
Instead, Jackson County has come under criticism this year as residents saw their property values skyrocket — and then had difficulty going through the appeals process.
According to the assessor’s office, the average increase this year was 30%, but some owners said their assessments skyrocketed by more than 100%.
But Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty has previously said her department’s role is to place market value on properties, according to state statute, and any property owner that disagrees with that value can appeal.
Earlier this month, Lee’s Summit was the first city to file a lawsuit, accusing the county of breaking state law in its property assessments.
Lee’s Summit leaders said the county increased property assessments beyond the allowable percentage, failed to notify property owners of increases, failed to perform required property inspections and failed to correctly and timely account for new construction.
Then last week, the Independence City Council voted to file its own lawsuit against the county, alleging “continuous failures by Jackson County officials to correct their inconsistent and unfair processes.”
An Independence attorney has also filed a class action lawsuit against Jackson County leaders on behalf of two local insurance agents.
That lawsuit says Jackson County didn’t send out some residents’ notices on time, calling this year’s property assessments “illegal and unlawful increases.”
Meanwhile, the Missouri State Auditor’s Office is also investigating multiple complaints about the county’s assessments process.
Last month, Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said his office’s whistleblower hotline has received complaints about significantly higher property assessments, not being able to get through the phone line, and software company Tyler Technology making decisions it might not be qualified to make.