They’re lying to you. They were going to raise your taxes.

Posted: September 11, 2018 in Clay County Commission, Uncategorized

I found out last week that there was a chance that Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen were going to raise county property taxes at the Commission meeting this Monday. I just don’t have much time these days to pay attention to this stuff as I’m quite busy working for companies that have to pay these taxes so that I can earn enough money to pay my taxes and keep all the property I supposedly own.

I was able to squeeze out a couple hours and head to the Courthouse to watch the crap show that doubles as a public meeting of our County Commissioners. I tell you, after covering that place for the better part of two years I don’t miss sitting through one of those meetings for five seconds.

For those that were not able to torture themselves, I have uploaded what is pretty much most of the public meeting and the passing of the ordinances to my personal YouTube channel. You can watch that below if you wish. I’d encourage a 2-3 drink minimum to make it not hurt so bad. I’ll do my best to summarize the important parts below and show you why I say Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen are lying.

I applaud those citizens that were able to take the time to attend the meeting. There was easily over 3 dozen people there, and I think it certainly helped.

For those that are not familiar with how property tax levies are set, they are approved by the Commission after the state auditor’s office determines what is the maximum levy permissible. Don’t be confused by that previous sentence. The Commission can set them as low, or as high as they want, as long as they fall underneath that magic number the auditor gives.

There are two seperate sets of tax levies. There are the outside agencies which include levies for mental health, developmental disabilities, and senior services. These levies are always small, and are currently set at the maximum level allowed by the auditors office. The second set of levies, which is where all the controversy came from, are the levies for finance and administrative services. These are the general levy, road and bridge, park, and debt service. Those rates were set at the following levels going into the meeting on Monday:

General .0853 per $100 of assessed valuation

Road and Bridge .0800 per $100 of assessed valuation

Park .0000 per $100 of assessed valuation

Debt Services .0000 per $100 of assessed valuation

I found out about the supposed tax increase from social media, to be more specific I saw it on Facebook from the Clay County MO Audit Facebook group. And it appears the information that made everyone think they were going to raise taxes seems to come from the 2018-Ord-16 document that was inserted into the Commission Meeting packet. You can find it over at the Clay County MO Website. Here’s a direct link, and here’s a screenshot because I like to make the Internet forever as much as possible.


From early on in the meeting it was apparent that Ridgeway and Owen were trying to make it seem like people had been misinformed on social media, and that neither one of them had any intention of raising taxes.

The Sherry Duffett stepped up to the podium and starting asking what seemed like an obvious question. Why was an ordinance inserted in the meeting packet that clearly states “does hereby establish the Clay County Levy Rates for Clay County for the 2018 tax year as follows”? Why does this document clearly show an increase over the existing levies?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get 100% of Duffett’s testimony. I had an issue with the camera and the beginning of her comments didn’t get fully recorded. You can watch what was captured here:

Later in the meeting a new ordinance to replace the 2018-Ord-16 was brought out by staff for the Commissioners. This new ordinance was passed with no increase of taxes.

This is a photo I took of that document:

2018-09-10 11.50.59 (512x1024)

After the passage of the ordinances, they recessed so people could stretch their legs. For whatever reason, Commissioner Owen came up to me to try and convince me that I’d been “sold a bill of goods” and there was nothing to worry about all along.

I asked him the same thing Duffett was wondering. Why have an ordinance in your meeting packet that had the incorrect rates that you were not going to support? Seems to me it would save you a lot of headache from angry citizens. He tried to claim that it was required by law that this ordinance had to be written this way.

So, I’m a person that likes to prove things. Maybe he was right, maybe my sense about what was going on was wrong. I called the state Auditor today and spoke to a representative to see if there was any truth to what he was saying.

According to the Auditor’s office, the County is only required by statute to pass the levies and to set the levies within the maximum level provided by the auditor’s office. They do not have to bring an ordinance up at the meeting with the maximum rates on them.

Here’s what I think was going on. Admittedly, I can’t prove this 100% but everything appears this way. They were going to raise your taxes because they did it previously and no one really said much of anything about it. They didn’t expect the strong response from the citizens and realized that they may have overplayed their hand a little. So, yesterday was all about damage control. Let’s blame “social media” because well, that’s what politicians do these days, and let’s make strong statements about how we had no intent of ever raising your taxes (just have short term memory because we did it previously).

So, it begs the question, why raise the rates at all?

Ridgeway and Owen want to pass a $50 million dollar bond. I’m not sure what’s all in this bond at this point in time. And considering that Owen and Ridgeway are completely inept at using any modern communication medium to communicate to us peasants, I hold little hope that we’ll ever truly be told by these two what they want. But by all means, take time off work and go to the meetings to find out after they pass it. You can be angry retroactively. To be able to get the bond the County has to have a higher income stream than they currently do for the underwriters to deem the County a safe credit risk. That additional tax revenue would have helped them with this.

The citizens may have done themselves a significant favor in stopping this tax increase if the above is true. I’m not going into the details of why. But suffice it to say, the last thing you want the County to do is go out and take on debt. I don’t care what the “Make America Great” crowd is telling you. We have a massive debt reset in the world on the horizon, and it’s probably closer than anyone would like to know.




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