Many Clay County homeowners recently received notices of a change in their property valuations, increasing concern and confusion over property taxes.
According to City Manager Molly McGovern, however, an increase in property values does not necessarily equal an increase in property taxes. She said as assessed value goes up, the taxing districts must re-evaluate their taxing rate.
“Each taxing entity cannot have a windfall,” she said. “Their tax revenue can’t increase more than the cost of living.”
Chapter 137 of the Missouri Revised Statute requires all Missouri counties reassess properties during odd years.
According to “Protecting taxpayers from tax increases caused by reassessment,” an article written by Ohio Senator Mike Gibbons provided to The Standard by McGovern, the law limits government growth to the lesser of the rate of inflation or five percent.
“(Senate Bill 711) mandates that all taxing jurisdictions, regardless of whether they are operating at or below their tax rate ceiling, must roll back their tax rate to counter reassessment increases,” Gibbon said.
McGovern said the city will calculate their new property tax rate with a formula that takes into consideration the old and new property values, along with the rate of inflation. She said some property tax bills may still go up, but others will go down. As a whole, the revenue taken in will stay the same.
According to an article found on museumtax.com and provided to The Standard by the city, the city recalculated the General Fund tax rate when reassessment occurred in the early 1980s, where the rate went from $1 to $0.57.
“The formula is assessed value (multiplied by) tax rate (equals) tax revenue; revenues cannot grow greater than the cost of living (COL), if it does, the tax rate is rolled back,” the website said. “Excelsior Springs current tax rate is ($0.64), which tells you our property values have not kept pace because we have not had a tax increase.”
McGovern said reassessment must occur every other year to report values accurately for school districts and city taxing districts. However, she said property values should remain accurate.
“At the same time, you need to remain accurate to the taxpayer, so their values don’t inappropriately go up or down,” she said.
The Clay County’s Assessor’s Office set up an appeals process for those who believe their new property value to be inaccurately calculated.
Informal appeals began last week and will continue through May 17. Homeowners can provide a copy of a recent sales contract (completed within the last year), an appraisal from an accredited firm completed within the last three years, copies of repair estimates with photos and income and expense information for commercial properties.
Melinda Mehaffy, economic development director, said because homeowners will ask the county to change the value of their property, they must do a little homework to prove their case.
She said homeowners with a recent purchase contract or an appraisal completed with the past three years can take a copy to the Assessors office to bypass the appeal process.
McGovern and Mehaffy said changes may be made based on recent sales in neighboring homes as well.
Those wishing to make an informal hearing appointment or needing more information can visit claycountymo.gov/departments/ assessor/real_estate.
Those wishing to further appeal their property value can do so with a Board of Equalization hearing beginning in July. Forms may be obtained at the County Clerk’s Office and must be returned no later than June 17 to be eligible.
If residents wish to further their appeals process after their BOE hearing, they may file an appeal with the State Tax Commission by Sept. 30 or within 30 days of the BOE’s decision.
The commission will expect a professional appraisal. Those wishing to obtain more information can do so by calling 573-751-2414.
Excelsior Springs residents wishing to obtain more information on their new property value can do so by calling the assessor’s office at 816-407-3510.