Independence will sue Jackson County over troubled Jackson County assessment

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:51 AM CDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) - Independence will sue Jackson County over the recent assessment.

The city officially announced their intent today.

In the wake of continuous failures by Jackson County officials to correct their inconsistent and unfair processes related to the assessment of real property taxes, the Independence City Council has authorized City staff to retain legal counsel to initiate a lawsuit against Jackson County. The Independence City Council did not make this decision lightly but feels litigation has become necessary in order to stand up for the interests of Independence residents and ensure the assessment process is being done in compliance with state law. It is the City’s hope that this unfortunate, but necessary action, will finally force Jackson County to do what is right for the City of Independence and its residents.

City of Independence, Mo

KCTV5 Investigates spoke with council member Michael Steinmeyer about the decision to sue. Steinmeyer pointed to the difficult position municipalities are now in trying to set levies and collect taxes.

He pointed to the information he’s heard directly from Independence homeowners and pointed to two recent KCTV5 Investigations.

The first revealed a major data error. Jackson County valued 550 homes at $356,270 even though they were different shapes and sizes. Several were empty lots. One vacant lot was in Independence.

Previous Coverage: $356,270 is Jackson County’s favorite assessment number. Why that might be wrong.

The county later admitted to the error and promised to send new assessment notices.

“There’s a tremendous amount of inconsistencies. I think you brought to light a lot of inconsistencies. So, that (referring to $356,270) really kind of brought a new energy to what we need to do and why we need to do it,” said Steinmeyer.

Also Read: What one neighborhood reveals about Jackson County assessment inspections

Steinmeyer also pointed to our most recent report, also featuring Independence, that revealed how quickly inspections appeared to have taken place in one neighborhood. 52 Inspections were done in 36 minutes according to time stamps on the county’s own photos.

“Any other assessment year I’d probably be very shocked by that. I’m not shocked by that information at all. Now. I think that is that really speaks to the troubles and the confusion and the non-compliance issues that we’re seeing from the county,” said Steinmeyer.

Lee’s Summit has also filed suit over the assessment.

Continuing Coverage: Lee’s Summit sues Jackson County over property tax assessment

KCTV5 is reaching out to other municipalities to learn if more lawsuits are under consideration.

More than 54,000 appeals have been filed by business and homeowners. That shatters all previous records.

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