Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Jackson County property owners, you are on your own

On your own

Mara Rose Williams’ Sept. 26 story chronicling the school board’s decision to maintain its tax levy serves as a warning to Jackson County residents: No one is coming to help. (4A, “Kansas City school taxes will rise 23% as board declines to lower levy”)

The improprieties of Jackson County Director of Assessment Gail McCann Beatty’s recent reassessments were acknowledged and dismissed as her problem to fix. Too many of us are expecting a mass correction, whether that means meaningful levy rollbacks (we’re looking at you, County Executive Frank White), class action lawsuits or an order to reverse the whole debacle.

The assessment department’s refusal to assist helpless victims of this scam and Beatty’s callous and condescending remarks further highlight the utter ridiculousness of it all, which breeds the mentality that a correction simply must be imminent. That is a trap.

Through its rulings on assessment disputes, the Missouri State Tax Commission has clearly defined the standard that must be met to satisfy our burden of proof in combating overvaluation: substantial and persuasive evidence. Translation: Get a certified appraisal of your home.

Arm yourself against Beatty’s napkin math, if she bothered to put forth even that much effort, with the facts of your property. It is likely that most of us will not have sufficient evidence to prove our claims — and Gail McCann Beatty is counting on it.

- William Mashburn, Kansas City

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