Ed Eilert | KCUR

Ed Eilert

Lynn Horsley / KCUR 89.3FM

While residents are in an uproar this summer over residential property assessments in Jackson County, Missouri, an equally important battle is underway in Johnson County, Kansas, where big box stores are successfully challenging major increases in their commercial property values.

The trend could significantly reduce future tax dollars for Johnson County schools, libraries and cities. Government leaders are worried and trying to plan for worst case situations.

Segment 1: A "dark store theory" update

The Kansas Board of Tax Appeals handed Johnson County a defeat last month when they ruled the county has overcharged some Walmart stores millions of dollars in property taxes. The decision is based on something called the "dark store theory," and it could put homeowners on the hook for making up the county's lost revenue.

Andrew Kline / For KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Appeals by big-box retailers to have property assessed as though it is vacant could mean big revenue loss for local governments.

First, with more than 5,000 "honor killings" occurring around the world every year, violence against women is a widespread problem with no single solution. Then, we hear both sides of upcoming ballot initiatives that propose a new public safety tax in Johnson County, and a new levy in Kansas City, Missouri, that would fund a light rail network. Finally, the most recent installment of A Fan's Notes.

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Updated, 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17:

The Johnson County courthouse is old, outdated and doesn’t meet accessibility standards – now it’s up to voters to decide if it should be replaced.

A proposed 1/4-cent sales tax would pay for a new, $182 million courthouse to be built just across Santa Fe Street from the existing courthouse in Olathe.

“The state of our county is good.” That was the message on Tuesday from  Johnson County Chairman Ed Eilert, as he bragged about the county’s 4.5 percent unemployment rate and dramatic increase in housing starts.

In his annual State of the County address, Eilert acknowledged it wasn’t easy to keep expenditures in line with revenues last year.  The county consolidated government departments and reduced the work force by the equivalent of more than 430 jobs through early retirement and attrition.