After years out of compliance, Callaway County properties now meet tax commission standard

Callaway County Assessor Jody Paschal said he worked with hundreds of shocked property owners after raising valuations to meet standards set by the Missouri State Tax Commission. (Ashley Zavala/KRCG).

Callaway County Assessor Jody Paschal said his phone rang off the hook at the beginning of the summer, after he had sent thousands of notices to property owners stating their valuations had significantly increased.

Paschal said increases were anywhere between 20 percent and 200 percent.

"The part that's hard to digest is getting those values up in one year, and we understand that but we were mandated," Paschal said.

Paschal said when he took office in 2013, he understood the county had been out of compliance with Missouri State Tax Commission regulations. He said after implementing new technology and software, the county had the tools to properly raise valuations to meet compliance. In November of 2016, the state tax commission sent them an official notice showing the county was out of compliance.

Paschal said regulations require property values to be set between 95 percent and 110 percent of market value. Callaway County's properties were at 82 percent.

"It was mainly older homes not kept up or homes that were remodeled, people who are flipping homes, because then it has a new value," Paschal said.

Paschal's office assessed the northern part of the county in 2017 and the southern part of the county in 2018. He said the county is now in compliance, with values set at 95 percent of market value.

"We would've liked to have done this in multiple tax cycles, but we weren't given that option, we had to do it in one year," Paschal said.

The assessor said hundreds of property owners reached out to him after the county assessed and raised their property values. For those who requested a reexamination, he lowered the valuation for about 900 properties.

With new software and values in compliance, Paschal said the office should not have to raise valuations as significantly as it did within the last two years.

"Every odd year we will go out and look and make sure what we have in our system is accurate," Paschal said.

The assessor said how the latest property valuations will affect taxes is still to be determined. He said a common misconception is that his office controls taxes, which he said, it does not.

"A $50,000 increase in property doesn't mean a $50,000 increase in taxes. Levies are supposed to roll back somewhat because they are not allowed to make money off old construction. But that's up to the taxing entities," Paschal said.

Paschal said his office will begin assessing property again in August.

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