July 8, 2019
Missouri State Tax Commission
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Harry S. Truman State Office Building, Room 840
Jefferson City, MO 65102
I am writing in concern of the process in which the 2019 reassessment of real estate in Jackson County was conducted. This has been highly publicized so you may already be aware that we have had some assessed valuations increase by as much as 400%, while other assessed valuations are extremely inconsistent with their neighbors.
Missouri law contains a safeguard to ensure that significant assessed valuations increases are justified. Specifically, according to Missouri law, §137.115 subsection 10: “Before the assessor may increase valuation of any parcel of subclass (1) real property by more than fifteen percent since the last assessment, excluding increases due to new construction or improvements, the assessor shall conduct a physical inspection of such property.”
I spoke with your counsel Ms. Monaghan, she confirmed this provision applies to Jackson County. The Director of Assessment has stated such physical inspections did not happen. Not surprisingly, there are over 22,000 requests for an informal review of valuations and an untold number of BOE appeals.
It is concerning to me the law may not have been followed, and as a result, the burden to ensure that valuation increases have been done correctly has shifted to the property owners.
Finally, as you know, the State Tax Commission “shall exercise general supervision over all the assessing officers of this state, over county board of equalization and appeal in performance of their duties” under Missouri law, §138.430, RSMo. I’m requesting that you fulfill your legal mandate by exercising your statutory authority and take all necessary action to assist in fixing this problem, including but not limited to , remedying the Assessor’s lack of physical inspections for those properties whose valuations increased more than 15%. I thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter and welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further.
Jackson County Legislature, Chairman
Cc: Victor Callahan; Will Kraus; Maureen Monaghan; Jackson County Legislature; Mary Jo Spino; Frank White, Jr.; Christopher R. Smith; Marilyn M. Shapiro; Forestine A. Beasley