And Then There Were Three: Blue Springs Joins Jackson County Property Tax Lawsuit Party
First it was Lee’s Summit and Independence initiating legal action against Jackson County for the county’s uneven and hamfisted property tax reassessment rollout. Now, Blue Springs is joining the litigation party.
Is it Johnny-come-lately political theater? Is it a principled beef against higher taxes on behalf of citizens? The court will decide!
Blue Springs will join one of its neighbors [Independence] and become the third city suing Jackson County over property tax assessments. . . .
“The mayor and City Council are authorizing legal action to ensure the residents of Blue Springs receive a fair and consistent process for the assessment of real property in compliance with state law,” the City Council said in a statement Thursday. . . .
Last month, Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said his office’s whistleblower hotline has received complaints about significantly higher property assessments, not being able to get through the phone line, and software company Tyler Technology making decisions it might not be qualified to make.
The lawsuits by the cities are in addition to the class action lawsuit filed privately by residents on similar issues, asserting (in short) failures of notice and process by the county. For example, the Lee’s Summit suit asserts that the state’s requirement that a reassessment be the result of a physical inspection was not met for this year’s reassessment, and the Independence suit asserts that the county failed to meet a variety of deadlines, among other statutory violations.
Whether anything comes of this stack of lawsuits remains to be seen, but the fact remains that property tax reform should be a priority for legislators and county leaders in 2024, so that future reassessments will be predictable and reasonable for Missourians statewide. As for Kansas City, my colleague David Stokes would remind policymakers that the constitutional exemption that allows the Kansas City public school district to not roll its tax rate back as property assessments increase is a major issue that should be grappled with sooner, not later.