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Property Tax Town Hall Draws a Crowd

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR
Property owners line up to ask a question at the town hall meeting with Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in the Crossroads.

By Laura Spencer


Kansas City, MO – Property owners Thursday night voiced their concerns about rising taxes to Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders at a town hall meeting at the Leedy Voulkos Art Center in the Crossroads Arts District. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

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About 100 people gathered for the wideranging discussion touching on light rail, the Kansas City School District, and billboards. But the focus remained on the increase in property taxes in recent years and concerns about tax breaks for major developers.

John O'Brien runs the Dolphin, a gallery in the Crossroads Arts District, and says he's concerned about the future of the area. O'Brien says his taxes have gone up like everyone else's and artist Jim Leedy, who pioneered the Crossroads 20 years ago, saw an increase of nearly 500 percent last time.

John O'Brien: "We're trying to hang on...but it's a difficult battle...and if the numbers don't work, it's just not going to happen."

Mayor Mark Funkhouser has appointed a task force to recommend reforms by late August in the city's economic development policy. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says they're in the process of looking for a new assessment director and he expects to appoint a blue ribbon commission to discuss ways to change the process before the next assessment in 2009. Laura Spencer, KCUR News.

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