Jackson County moves ahead on assessment system

By Jeff Fox jeff.fox@examiner.net

Jackson County is on its way to having an updated computer system meant to make property assessments more accurate, fair and transparent, though it’s expected to be 2023 – rather than the 2021 assessment cycle – when that system kicks in.

County legislators on Monday approved a $17.88 million contract with Tyler Technologies of Moraine, Ohio, for a computerized mass appraisal system. The vote was unanimous.

Legislature Chair Theresa Cass Galvin, R-Lee’s Summit, had stressed that the system, though needed, is expensive and held the issue for a few weeks so legislators had more time for review.

On Monday, the Legislature held a hearing on the issue. Only one person, Preston Smith of Blue Springs, spoke.

Smith, who has been a non-voting member of county Board of Equalization, was frequently critical of the county during last year’s uproar over assessments and called for the BOE to set aside the 2019 assessment entirely and cap property value increases, a move the BOE did not make. On Monday, he said the new computer system is not needed at this time and said the county’s fundamental problem is bad property value data.

Gail McCann Beatty, director of assessment, said part of what Tyler is being hired for is to begin getting more accurate data.

“As a taxpayer in Jackson County,” Smith said, “I believe this bid is going to empower an out-of-state firm to conduct our entire assessment, freeing the local assessment staff to blame them for any issues and to take no responsibility for anything.”