Christian County, Mo. residents feeling pinch from higher real estate property taxes

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST
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CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - It was a busy day at the Christian County courthouse, as several made a point to pay their property taxes early. Some doing it reluctantly, since their tax obligation increased compared to what they paid in 2020.

“On one property they’re up a couple of hundred dollars, and maybe at least a hundred dollars on the other property,” says resident Joyce Wyatt.

For Wyatt, coming up with the extra money will cause an uncertain rest of the year.

“Maybe some other things are gonna have to be let go because of having to pay the taxes all at once,” explains Wyatt.

And she’s far from the only one paying more. Bruce Barge’s property taxes increased by close to $500.

“I was expecting an increase, wasn’t quite expecting $500,” says Barge.

The year 2021 is a reassessment year in Missouri. When the Christian County Assessor’s office performed value assessments in April, most properties were assessed at a much higher value. Christian County Assessor Danny Gray says on average, increases were around 9.5 percent. Some were as high as 17 percent.

“(They were) based on physical condition, based on their neighborhood adjustments. Lots of factors go into what that is,” explains Christian County Assessor Danny Gray.

In April, the assessor’s office sent change notices to everyone whose property changed. Residents could then file an appeal if they thought their assessment was incorrect.

The deadline was June 30. Gray explains no residents filed an official appeal. And only three commercial businesses did. The Ozark B&B Theater won its appeal, which resulted in an adjustment to their assessed valuation. It’s too late to file an appeal if you disagree with the amount you owe. All you can do is file a suit in Christian County Circuit Court.

“I’ve never had anybody file in circuit court. At that point, they’re gonna have to prove that they were overvalued through an appraisal. Then the court’s gonna look at our values, look at the taxpayer’s values, decide on what’s fair market value,” explains Gray. “We work really hard to explain to people how we value their property, and we are conservative on it. We don’t want to overtax anybody. That’s not what we’re here for.”

“Older people like myself are hit really hard when these taxes come around,” says Wyatt. “I don’t know what some people are gonna do if they keep going up like they are.”

The collector’s office does not offer payment plans for those struggling to come up with the money. Christian County Collector Ted Nichols suggests using a credit card to pay since most interest rates are lower than the penalty for paying late. However, the collector’s office does add a processing fee for using a card or paying online. That fee is two and a half percent of what you owe.

The deadline for paying without a penalty is December 31.

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