A Jackson County Circuit Court judge today denied the 11 school districts that have filed suit against Jackson County a temporary restraining order. The judge's ruling "appears to reject" the claims the districts' superintendents and other administrators have made about the County assessment procedures inaccurately resulting in the properties being undervalued, pointed out attorney Charlene Wright of Lathrop & Gage, which is representing Jackson County in this case.
"The court's ruling is good news for the approximately 217,000 homeowners of Jackson County, who are now less likely to face an unconstitutional tax increase to the tune of $54 million," Wright said. "If the school districts continue to pursue this lawsuit, Jackson County will continue to fight on behalf of the taxpayers of our County."
The restraining order the superintendents sought, Wright explained, would have "tossed out" the 2009 property value reassessments homeowners received this year and reverted back to the 2008 reassessments.
"Most homeowners saw their property values be lowered with this year's reassessment," said Brian Johnson of the Jackson County Assessment Department. "We are legally bound and morally obligated to base assessments on real-world market trends. It's no secret property values have dropped nationwide, and our county has been no exception. The lower property value notices taxpayers received from the Assessment Department are reflective of that fact.
"The assessment process we used this year is no different than the process we've used in previous years, and the Missouri State Tax Commission has reviewed and approved our process. The districts had not in previous years, when assessments were higher, challenged the process we use or the accuracy of our results."