Jackson County property owners concerned about recent reassessments might get a little more time to gather documentation and appeal the county’s determinations.

The deadline for an informal appeal is Monday.

However, the county’s Board of Equalization has set a meeting for Monday – 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Downtown Courthouse at 415 E. 12th St. in Kansas City – with a possible extension as its only agenda item. The board was asked to extend the deadline this week but didn’t, and members gave no indication about whether they are inclined to do so.

Several county legislators were at this week’s BOE meeting, and two suggested an extension.

The county reassesses property every two years. Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty said this week that Realtor data pointed to a 13 percent increase in property values across the county from 2017 to 2019.

“Property values have increased in Jackson County and in the state as a whole,” Beatty said this week.

But many individuals have seen sharper increases than that – and that could mean a higher tax bill.

Alan Young of the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City said his assessment went up 2,184 percent “on a lot I didn’t strike oil on – I’m growing vegetables.”

Ivanhoe has struggled for years, and although neighbors have worked together to make many improvements and have come a long way, Young said, the average income is still $21,000 a year.

“The people will not be able to pay these taxes,” he told legislators.

Several residents have said – echoed by some legislators – that they fear being taxed out of their homes. A Kansas City resident this week filed a class-action lawsuit, challenging the county’s method of determining assessments.

There are roughly 300,000 parcels of property in the county, and as of early this week more than 21,000 people had filed informal appeals.

Solutions?

If higher assessments stay in place, higher property taxes would follow. Local governments could roll back their own levies to hold the line on taxes, but that would go jurisdiction by jurisdiction – school districts, cities, the county and then entities with a far smaller share of taxes such as the library system.

The county collects property taxes for all of those local governments and distributes the money, but the county’s actual portion of a homeowner’s tax bill is often less than 10 percent. Schools usually account for most of the tax bill. In other words, the county alone probably can’t do enough with its levy rates to offset a homeowner’s significant increase.

Residents and some legislators – some acknowledging that property values have been too low for decades – have said the county should find a way to ease into the increases over time.

“There is nothing in the (state) statute that allows me to do that,” Beatty said.

Making an appeal

For now at least, the deadline for an informal appeal is Monday. (State statue set it at June 17, but the BOE extended it to July 8.)

Get the application form to do that by doing one of these:

• Go to www.jacksongov.org/331/Board-of-Equalization-Appeals.

• Go to the Assessment Department office on the first floor of the Truman Courthouse on Lexington Avenue on the Independence Square, or the department’s office in the Downtown Courthouse at 415 E. 12th St., Kansas City.

• Call 816-881-3309.

Appeals have to be filed or postmarked by Monday. A separate application is needed for each property.

Mail an application, with supporting documentation, to:

Jackson County Board of Equalization

415 E. 12th St., room 102

Kansas City, MO 64106

Or drop it off in person at the Kansas City address or at the Truman Courthouse, 112 W. Lexington Ave., Suite 145.

The Board of Equalization holds appeal hearings in July and August. It can raise, lower or leave in place what the Assessment Department has found. The BOE is separate from the Assessment Department. It sets property values but not taxes. A property owner unsatisfied with the BOE’s ruling can appeal to the Missouri State Tax Commission.