Jackson County’s recent property value assessments are inconsistent, unfair, and unreasonable. They will cause great hardship to thousands of our neighbors in Jackson County, tenants and mortgage holders alike.
Those who will inevitably suffer the most are elderly and disabled individuals on fixed incomes, working-class mortgage holders, and tenants. The impact of these assessments won’t just be felt by individual families, but by our community as a whole.
The new assessments harm longtime residents, especially Black and Brown people in Jackson County, and benefit out-of-state profiteers.
Many homeowners could see their housing costs more than double with the new assessments. Because they cannot afford their property taxes, owners may be forced to sell. The most likely buyers will be out-of-state real estate speculators with no stake in our neighborhoods outside of financial gain.
Those corporate owners are among the worst, most exploitative landlords, unaccountable to tenants, neighbors, and local governments. Their businesses accelerate gentrification, setting our neighborhoods up for further tax increases. This cycle of displacement disproportionately affects Black and brown people in Jackson County.
The new assessments harm tenants, as well as mortgage holders, directly and profoundly. Landlords will pass their increased costs along to their tenants by raising rents, which are already unaffordable.
Our community, like every other community in the country, is already deeply in crisis, with too many neighbors paying a majority of their monthly income to rent, forced to make impossible choices between rent and other critical needs like food and medication.
We ask you the same question we’ve asked ourselves: When we get priced out of our longtime homes, where are we supposed to go?
Hundreds of Jackson County residents have sought to appeal their most recent assessment, a process which is complicated, understaffed, and inaccessible.
While we support the action taken to extend the deadline to appeal from July 10 to July 31, no measures have been taken to improve accessibility for our most vulnerable neighbors, such as seniors, people whose first language is not English, parents, and those without access to the internet.
We can’t allow this cycle to continue harming the residents of Jackson County. Based on the expertise of community members who are impacted by the new assessments, KC Tenants urges you to:
- Immediately implement concrete measures to make the appeals process more accessible, and further extend the deadline to allow for public education about and the implementation of these changes.
- Explore opportunities for payment plans to ease residents’ financial burden and prevent displacement.
- Investigate and follow the leadership of those most impacted by the new assessments – poor and working-class mortgage holders who live in their own property – to find long-term solutions, such as alternative means of collective ownership (community land trusts, etc.).
Diane Charity, Leader & Co-Founder, KC Tenants.
Madison Hays, Leader, KC Tenants
Patricia Bordallo Dibildox, Leader, KC Tenants
Jenay Manley, Leader & Organizer, KC Tenants
Dallas Jones, Leader, KC Tenants
Sabrina Davis, Leader, KC Tenants
Michael Savwoir, Leader, KC Tenants
Amy Ameis, Leader, KC Tenants
Wilson Vance, Leader & Organizer, KC Tenants
Johnathan Duncan, KCMO District 6 Councilman-Elect