June 28, 2019
We the members of the Jackson County Legislature are requesting the following from Jackson County Executive Franke White Jr.:
It’s become clear there are numerous grave errors in the 2019 reassessment values recently sent to the citizens of Jackson County. We respectfully request those reassessments be discarded, and you provide a resolution to this situation. The massive swings in home and land values, often on the same block, cause us to distrust the process used in valuation, especially after reading media reports of a county whistleblower discounting the process.
Homeowners in every part of Jackson County were hit with giant increases. Many thousands of home owners (over 21,000) challenged those increases through the informal review process, even though many thousands of notices went out so late many didn’t have the opportunity to file for a review. We know the county will not be able to complete those reviews by the June 28th deadline.
Government exists first and foremost to help people and provide needed services. It’s our responsibility to advocate for our constituents, the same constituents the county executive represents. It has been grossly unfair to require our constituents to wage this battle on their own, when we can all see how seriously flawed the process has been.
We hear from this administration they are simply following the state law, requiring that our homes are valued correctly. Some properties, have been undervalued for years and we recognize that. Surprising current residents with such a huge increase in one year’s time is wrong. None of us argue that we should have properly valued homes, but it’s not our constituents’ responsibility, in one year to fix this issue especially when many of the values are calculated wrong.
What about the tax payers who did not see their increase and therefore did not dispute the amount? We have heard from constituents who never received a copy of their updated reassessment. For many, the first time they will see their change in valuations will be when their escrow is changed by the mortgage company and their payment goes up by several hundred dollars per month Residents who don’t have a mortgage may receive a huge bill in December. Residents who rent a home will also endure the brunt of these increases by having their rent go up. As the area continues ongoing dialogue about affordable housing, it appears the county executive isn’t concerned with such matter.
County Executive Frank White needs to do the right thing and land on the side of those he represents. He must acknowledge mistakes were made, own up to it for the residents of Jackson County. This is not a burden that should be borne by the tax payers of Jackson County.
Daniel T. Tarwater III
Legislative Vice Chair