KC mayor calls Jackson County’s property assessment a ‘crisis,’ questions the long-term implications

Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 7:47 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 9:08 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas called Jackson County’s recent property assessment a “crisis.”

It’s the strongest statement yet from Lucas regarding the troubled assessment.

So far, more than 51,000 property owners are appealing. That number will likely spike. A new total will be announced Thursday morning.

Lucas questions how some homeowners will pay the new totals.

“How can we find some level of relief to make sure people can stay in their homes? Thousands of dollars in increases will not work,” said Lucas.

The mayor said he’s concerned about the long-term implications, like mass defaults. He points to Kansas City’s Land Bank, which already has thousands of abandoned properties.

“What I think the next potential crisis could be is massive defaults long-term,” Lucas said. “If people are just saying, ‘You know what, we can’t pay. A whole lot of us aren’t going to start paying,’ what does that do later down the line? We do not want thousands more properties being abandoned in Kansas City and in Jackson County.”

Lucas promised cooperation with all city and county leaders to look at any possible solutions. He specifically mentioned seniors.

Jackson County defends recent appraisal

Both Frank White’s office and Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty have defended the recent assessment.

Jackson County spokesperson Marshanna Smith released this statement:

“Mass appraisal is not a perfect system,” said Gail McCann Beatty in a recent interview with KCTV5.

She points to the processes in place to protect property owners; they can appeal and bring information both informally and formally before the Board of Equalization.

What homeowners say

KCTV5 has heard from numerous homeowners who question the quality of assessments they received in the mail.

“What are they thinking? Are they thinking?” questioned Joy Velaer.

“It’s just unfair and unjust,” said Tuesdae Velaer.

Homeowners point to the unevenness inside neighborhoods. It’s a fact that KCTV5 has revealed as some properties face giant increases and others drop in value, all on the same block. It becomes more baffling when you realize some properties were recently sold, so there’s current data.

Just this week, KCTV5 became aware of a million-dollar property that dropped in value from around $880,000 to around $350,000 despite the fact that it sold in December for $1,035,000.

The county claims its assessment factors in recent sales and prior values.

John Welchert owns duplexes that sit side-by-side. One was valued $40,000 more than the other despite being completely identical.

“I’d fire them in a minute,” said Welchert. “If you worked for me and you pulled that kind of stunt or whatever, yeah, you’d be looking for a new job.”


Learn from people who fought their Jackson County assessments and won

Tensions run high over property taxes, even between top county and city leaders

Data expert challenges Jackson County’s claim that property values raised 30%, says his analysis shows it’s even higher