JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -- If you think Jackson County homeowners faced a messy assessment, just wait until you hear about the appeals process.
Homeowners say they are being notified of formal appeal hearings with just hours to spare. Others received no notification at all.
Retired stock broker Henry Murr showed KCTV5's investigative unit the envelope his notice came in. It was postmarked on Saturday. He received it Wednesday at 11:00 and had to be at a hearing at 1:00.
Turns out his daughter had a hearing, too but was never notified.
“We raced down to the courthouse,” said Henry Murr.
Murr points out he had to cancel appointments and his daughter had to find emergency childcare.
They both noticed many homeowners were absent from their scheduled hearings and wondered if it’s because the people agreed with their inflated values or if mail was opened later.
“I just got screwed. It's a long way from fair,” said Henry Murr.
Murr shared what happened with his lot as an example of how botched assessments are.
He owns a vacant lot in the northeast section of Kansas City, which was previously valued at $4,000. The 2019 value shot up to $17,000.
He filed an informal appeal, and the suggested value was $5,600.
Murr declined and filed a formal appeal.
Yesterday’s negotiations somehow started at $10,000.
Murr declined that offer and argued before the Board of Equalization that the county clearly lacked information.
“Basically, I don’t think anybody did any work on what properties were actually selling for,” said Henry Murr.
Murr compiled a report that included more than 200 pages of research. He says the BOE agreed and lowered his lot value to $1,081, which is a far cry from that assessment value of $17,000.
Murr says he’s stunned anyone in the assessment department still has a job with the way values were calculated and how the department is “fixing” mistakes.
KCTV5 has heard from numerous homeowners about short notice for formal appeal hearings.
Several other homeowners say informal appeals are being sent to them by email, but it lands in their junk folder. In some cases, the county did work with the homeowners.
Another homeowner tells us when he pointed out he missed the email, he was informed that was unfortunate, but he therefore missed the deadline for a formal appeal and the right to appeal to the state. He’s simply stuck with a 2019 assessment value he feels is unfair.
KCTV5 reached out to the county for a response on how they are ensuring a fair and smooth process. We have not heard back.
Click here to see how you can check to see if you have an upcoming hearing.
If you want to let us know how your assessment process is going you can email our investigation team at firstname.lastname@example.org