Fewer than 3,000 appeals filed after botched Jackson County reassessments

07/29/2013 9:52 PM

07/29/2013 9:52 PM

After a flood of angry phone calls prompted Jackson County to rectify mistaken property values, the county received fewer than 3,000 formal appeals by Monday’s deadline.

Board of Equalization Chairman Bob Murphy told the Jackson County Legislature that about 2,000 appeals had been filed by 1 p.m. Monday, and he expected fewer than 3,000 by the end of the day. That is down from more than 5,700 appeals following the last reassessment in 2011, he said.

The relatively low number of appeals comes after a rocky assessment process and a top official’s resignation.

In early May, Jackson County legislators and the assessment office were deluged with calls from residents who were alarmed at how much their home appraisals had jumped –– 20, 30, 40 percent or more. County property taxes are based on those appraisals.

County officials have acknowledged since mid-May that many of this year’s property valuations were based on flawed market value data and riddled with errors. County Assessor Curtis Koons first told the Legislature that new valuations on 18,000 residential properties seemed suspect and needed more review.

By mid-June, the county said the problem was more widespread, and letters went out to 58,000 houses and duplexes with revised valuations.

Koons took responsibility for the botched process and submitted his resignation June 21 but asked to stay on until the informal appeals process was completed.

Calvin Williford, the chief of staff for County Executive Mike Sanders, said Monday that once mistakes were acknowledged, Koons and the rest of the county staff have worked hard to rectify the errors. He said that was borne out by the relatively low number of formal appeals.

Legislator Dan Tarwater agreed. “For the most part, people are getting a fair and balanced appraisal,” he said.

Murphy said the three-member Board of Equalization will begin hearing appeals in mid-August and will strive to give each person sufficient time for a fair hearing and an accurate appraisal. He said the formal hearings should be done by October 1.

Legislator Bob Spence said he still wants a full report on this year’s reassessment process and how many valuations were changed, either through informal or formal appeals. Sanders pledged to provide that once the board completes its work.


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