FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- Jackson County wants you to know more about how they determine your property taxes. On Thursday, they posted a video on the county’s website explaining how fair and accurate the process is.
It’s the cartoon Jackson County purchased to make you feel better about higher property taxes. The price tag is a little less than $2,000. That’s according to the production company who made it. That number made us go, “oh really.”
That’s the same amount the county could have paid for MLS data that would have possibly produced clearer results, but instead, they bought the cartoon.
In a slick new video, Jackson County explains how assessments work.
“When someone hears the term, ‘assessor,’ they seem to think of a scary person reaching for their wallet, not so.”
KCTV5 News has done more than a dozen reports because we’ve uncovered such a mess. Assessments are incredibly uneven. The video claims otherwise.
“We do so with incredible accuracy.”
Homeowners and the county’s own numbers tell a different story. Here’s how they explain why homes have different assessed values.
“Imagine that you are in a restaurant with two friends. One orders a hot dog and one orders a plate of caviar and you order a steak. The waiter comes to the table with a total bill of $100. But he doesn’t know how much each of you should pay. If everyone paid the same amount, the guy who ordered the caviar might be happy, but what about the guy who ordered the hot dog?”
The irony is strong because KCTV5 News found a number of caviar houses with a hamburger rate. Perhaps they had coupons.
And of course, KCTV5 News met the hotdog homeowners who said they are paying for steak. And if we are sticking with the restaurant theme, we’ve met the wrong order.
Sherre Wichman’s assessment doesn’t have the correct information when it comes to square footage.
“Studying things like square footage, age and location helps assessors determine how comparable another property is to yours.”
The preproduced video fails to mention a record number of homeowners are appealing their property values. Even the board doesn’t know how they’ll manage all the complaints.
“The only things an assessor chases are fairness and equity and they take great pride in it.”
It’s worth repeating this cartoon, which is very nice and can be purchased in Spanish, is the same price as the full MLS data that was not used in this assessment. Many feel that was a mistake.
KCTV5 News has been crunching numbers all week with the help of a Jackson County homeowner, Preston Smith, who’s trying to fix this mess.
Friday at 10 p.m., KCTV5 News digs into spreadsheets and compares real sale prices to the assessments that hit your mail box.