Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty has issued the following statement regarding a preliminary report released today by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office:
“As the Jackson County Assessor, I acknowledge the preliminary findings presented by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office regarding our assessment process. These preliminary findings are being carefully reviewed and thoroughly analyzed by our internal team. While we believe there are mistakes in these preliminary findings, we remain actively engaged with the auditors to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their observations and correct any inaccuracies. Specifically, it is our position that Section 137.115 was fully complied with.
“For two years, Jackson County completed an extensive review of each residential parcel. The review included having an associate document each property by photographing, measuring, and collecting up-to-date information. Property owners were provided with an opportunity to provide additional information by using a postage paid or online questionnaire. Only after all inspections were completed did the Assessment Department determine a market value and notifications were sent to each owner.
“There appears to be a mistaken belief that physical, exterior inspections are conducted after a valuation is determined. However, the case relied upon the Auditor in the preliminary report shows that it is standard for inspections to be conducted before valuations are estimated. The case cited in the preliminary report states:
The inspection was within a relevant time period of the valuation date of January 1, 2007. Further, St. Louis County is the largest assessment jurisdiction in the state. Over a quarter of a million residential parcels required inspection before the 2007 assessment could be completed. The purpose of Section 137.115 RSMo is to insure that the taxpayer’s property is inspected before an increase of over 15% may be finalized. An inspection occurring in October 2006, fulfills the inspection purpose of the statute.
Geiger Real Estate, Inc v Muehlheausler, 2009 WL 1266297 (2009).
“Further, the State Auditor’s current interpretation regarding physical inspections should cause concern among assessor’s statewide as such a theory would have significant impacts on their assessment process.
“Nonetheless, we will provide further updates and detailed actions following the release of the final audit report. Until then, we remain dedicated to upholding fair and equitable property assessments, ensuring that our assessment process aligns with industry best practices.”