Posts Tagged ‘Clay County Assessor’

Well, Missouri Legislators are back in session. Odds are good this is not a good thing, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I received this update from my state representative, T.J. Berry. I thought I would put it up. I especially enjoyed his response to Clay County Assessor Cathy Rinehart’s letter that you should have received with your property tax assessment list. It seems Ms. Rinehart is busy trying to save the folks some money. That’s good when you consider all the money the sexual harassment law suits cost us a few years back. She’s apparently older and wiser this year, she has dumped the proposal to assess vehicles by weight. I guess she’s trying to focus her energies. For the record, I don’t support her idea to allow assessors to choose which assessment guide they use. NADA is the most accurate and well recognized source for automobile values in the country. Furthermore, as Representative Berry states below, we don’t need a different set of standards from one county to the next. It seems to me Ms. Rinehart is trying to look conservative and suck up to the voters. Don’t fall for it, she needs to go.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I wish you the best in the New Year.

Session

Missouri legislative session begins each year at noon on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. We will be in session through the second week in May.

Redistricting

The newly drawn redistricting maps were completed in early December. There has been a drastic change across the state. The 35th district has been split by our Appellate Court Judges into the new 12th and 38th House Districts. I now reside in the new 38th District. Redistricting lines will not take effect until the election of 2012. I will continue to represent the 35th District for twelve more months.

The Smithville area of Clay County has been added to the 12th Senatorial District. The district now includes over 183,000 people and all of Ray, Caldwell, Clinton, Andrew, Holt, Atchison, DeKalb, Nodaway, Gentry, Harrison, Worth, and Davies Counties.

Links to the new maps are below; Please take a look to see which of the new districts you live in.

State Senate: New Senate Districts

State House: New House Districts 

Personal Property Tax 

Everyone should have recently received a letter from the Clay county assessor’s office dealing with vehicle property tax assessment. This is the second year the Assessor has requested the ability to use either the Kelly Blue Book or NADA value. It is important to use the same standard across the state’s 114 counties. The Assessor would like to make this decision at the discretion of their office. I have a reluctance to grant politicians the ability to manipulate tax revenues during election cycles. I would welcome your input on this matter.

Bill Information

If you would like to track legislation you may log on to www.house.mo.gov and select “Bill Information” and then select “Bill Tracking”. You may search by topic or bill number. If you want to track the bills that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored, just enter my last name and you will be able to look at each of those also.

Capitol Reports

If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this Capitol Report, they can click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at www.house.mo.gov and enter the appropriate information to receive the Capitol Report. As always if you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact my office at (573) 751 – 2238 or by email at TJ.Berry@house.mo.gov.

Until our next update, I am in your service.

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Lydia McEvoy contacted me through email recently stating this was coming. Clay County announced it on their website yesterday. Sounds like a good deal for Clay County citizens. Below is a copy of their release.

At Monday’s commission meeting, Clay County officials approved resolutions allowing the County to accept tax payments for municipalities within Clay County.

County Collector Lydia McEvoy announced that North Kansas City, Kearney, Birmingham and Avondale have entered into agreements with the County to have their city tax bills collected by the County Collector’s Office.

“This new process will streamline tax payments for citizens,” said McEvoy. “A single office will collect payments and provide customer service. This ‘one-stop shopping’ approach will allow our partner municipalities to redeploy staff and resources and will allow the citizens of those municipalities to utilize one central location for all local tax payments.”

Currently citizens must make separate payments to the city and county in which property is owned.

The arrangement calls for participating cities to pay a small percentage of collections as a fee to the County for collecting their taxes. However, McEvoy believes those fees will be more than recouped by participating municipalities in the form of cost savings and improved collections.

“We’ve struck the right balance with the fee structure, “said McEvoy. “Clay County will have to front significant costs to implement city collections, but those costs should lessen as the program develops. I believe it is important for Clay County to provide this service to its municipalities.”

The fees generated will be split among the County’s general fund, the Assessor’s Office and the Tax Maintenance Fund, a statutory fund that independently finances additional costs and expenses incurred in the Collector’s Office.

The County plans to add further municipalities in the coming months and years.

“We have delivered a uniform collections offer to all the municipalities in Clay County except Kansas City,” said McEvoy.

“We hope to bring on Smithville shortly and work our way towards collecting for every municipality in Clay County by next year.

Kansas City was exempted from this year’s offer because it presents unique collections issues. In April, McEvoy met with officials from Kansas City and plans to collect for them next year.

McEvoy believes the Collector’s Office can handle the increased workload without additional staff, although there will be significant demands on the software used by the office.

I have not had the time to respond to this, but our Assessor Cathy Rinehart sent you a letter trying to act as an activist with regards to your property taxes a couple of weeks ago. She proposed two changes to Missouri law, neither of which make great sense. I received a communication from State Rep. Myron Neth’s office on the matter and thought I would post it instead of a lengthy diatribe on the topic. We all know I have one in me.

Recently, the Clay County Assessor, Cathy Rinehart, sent out a letter regarding the way vehicles are assessed. She brought up two options that were distinct and separate, but many have thought to be tied together – they are not.  In addition, the issue she raised has nothing to do with any recent change in the law.  The existing statute has been on the books for several years, so the implication that lawmakers have done anything to cause this through recent legislation is false.

Many have raised the concern that this is a back door tax increase.  I fight every day to keep taxes low so I am very sensitive to this accusation. Any increases, however slight, would be due to a used car market that has caused some cars to be valued slightly higher than they might have been in the previous years.  Increased valuation is NOT across the board and depends on your vehicle.  Although perhaps counter-intuitive, in the current market, some used cars might show a higher value, but most will not.  It is not unlike one’s home appreciating in value.  Admittedly, we are much more used to a rising housing market, not a rising auto market. However, should there be a rise in value, it is most likely an anomaly due to the current economic environment.

In regards to the Assessor’s first suggestion of changing the statute language to “may” and having the ability to use the Kelly Blue book value, I have a few concerns.  I am opposed to language that gives too much discretion to any government official or agency.  By using the word “may” instead of “shall”, it leaves a lot of room for subjectivity.  For this reason, I am opposed to the change in language.  Upon further research, I found the Assessor actually has discretion within the current system.  The NADA valuation book offers three choices of value: Clean, Average and Rough.  In one example I researched, a 2006 truck had a $3500 difference between the Clean and Rough values.  So a question arises as to which value the Assessor is using in the calculation.

I am adamantly opposed to the Assessor’s second suggestion of using weight as the determining factor for property tax.  This would greatly discriminate against those with older vehicles, businesses with trucks and the like. In effect, the taxes you pay on your vehicle would never go down.

Some options I am discussing with fellow legislators are to forbid any personal property to be assessed higher than the year prior, require the Assessor to print the value assessed (it is not currently published on tax bills), and allow for an appeal process on the valuation of your automobile.

Here in Jefferson City, I am working with the rest of the Clay County delegation to determine the most appropriate course of action that is in the best interest of taxpayers statewide.  I hope this feedback and response is helpful and we can work together to make sure there is accountability and transparency in all of government.

Representative Myron Neth Thank you again for contacting my office.  I will continue to do everything in my power to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the 34th district and Missouri.  If you have any questions, please do not hestitate to contact my office.

State Representative Myron Neth

34th District

Office phone:  (573) 751-1218

Email:  myron.neth@house.mo.gov