It appears that David Cox, the Platte County Assessor, is back for another round of increased property tax assessments.
Just a few things I found during the last appeal process to the Board of Equalization that I hope will be helpful. The first is the assessor’s office stacks the deck against you by purposefully not giving any direction as to what to bring. My advice is to bring photos and a spread sheet of everything that would need to be done to your home if you were going to sell it for the best price, land drainage issues, rotten wood, peeling paint, old roof, windows etc.
There are five members from the assessor’s office sitting together at computers advocating for the county as a show of force against the homeowner. The five assessors try to make any info you have brought seem irrelevant while members from the local government are there to ask questions. There is a disconnect with reality in the assessors office that updates to a home make it a higher taxed value, but things that need to be done to sell the home are normal wear and tear items. Normal wear and tear is supposedly already accounted for in the assessment and don’t reduce the tax burden. They try to disregard the fact that most homes will need some expensive updates to sell at more than as-is prices and the comps are homes that have already been fixed up for sale.
Depending on whom you talk to in the assessor’s office you might be treated rudely over the phone. I would email as much as possible and bring copies of the emails to the hearing so their aren’t misrepresentations of the truth.
You really don’t have any privacy or Fourth Amendment rights. If you don’t submit to a search of your home then you will be assessed at the highest level. An example would be if you don’t have a finished basement you will be assessed as if you do until you can prove otherwise. Bring your own photos or submit to a home search and photos by the assessor’s office, but be prepared to have your home searched anyway.
The homeowner doesn’t have much chance, you really need to pay someone to represent you or at least pull apple-to-apple comps to be effective. I have no idea how someone on a fixed income or who doesn’t have the resources could afford this. Most homeowners will be unprepared and less than 5% appeal, they are counting on this and will take advantage of it. I would still appeal your assessment because you will probably get something off the assessment, but the process is designed to intimidate you to accept far less than what is fair.
The Platte County Assessor’s office is run by an arrogant real estate agent and at the same time assessor, David Cox. The relationship appears to be a direct unethical conflict of interest that no one seems to care about. Hopefully homeowners will remember this money grab when Mr. Cox is no longer the assessor and wants to sell real estate in the area full time.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer has written legislation with property tax protections and can be contacted at: www.senate.mo.gov/mem34/
–Dr. Tim Altenburg DDS.
Kansas City in Platte County