General Ideas

The Reality of Re-Assessment for Raytown

Even though Halloween is complete, we noticed that there is still something spooky going on in Raytown. Misinformation regarding the re-assessment of real estate by the Jackson County Assessor is being distributed throughout the community to create a “vote no” panic. But should we be worried?
No, and here is why:

How do Property Taxes Work?

Navigating the nuances of real estate appraisal and assessment in Missouri can be mindboggling. We plan to help break this topic into more manageable bites so that our everyday citizens can understand why property taxes and assessments should not cause panic. Re-assessment occurs every-other year on odd numbered years (2017,2019, 2021, etc.). The next re-assessment will value properties as of January 1, 2023, not today or last summer, but as of January 1, 2023.

First things first. To calculate someone’s property taxes, it requires three items: a market value, an assessed value, and a mill levy. Let’s define those quickly:

  • Market Value, broken down, is the price a buyer is willing to pay, and a seller is willing to accept for their property. This is derived by the County Assessor via a mass appraisal process. Mass appraisals are outside of the scope of this article, but we can touch on those on a later date. 
  • Assessed Value is just the market value multiplied by the assessment ratio. For commercial properties in Missouri, the ratio is 32% of market value. For residential properties in Missouri, the assessment ratio is 19%. 
  • A Mill Levy is nothing more than a term for a tax rate. In Missouri, the mill levy represents the amount of property tax paid per $100 of assessed value. In Raytown, the mill levy is comprised of nine taxing jurisdictions, listed below:
    • Raytown C-2 School District
    • City of Raytown
    • Raytown Fire Protection District
    • Jackson County
    • Mental Health
    • MCC (Community College)
    • Mid-Continent Library
    • State Blind Pension

The table below illustrates how the property tax is collected:

As an aside, the portion the City of Raytown would collect from this hypothetical property tax bill, to run the Police Department, Public Works, Municipal Court, etc.)  is around $49.  At this point you may be saying “this mailer I received said my assessment will go up over 25% in 2023. I can’t afford that!” We are here to tell you, that on the macro level, assessments do not matter.

The Hancock Amendment (RSMo 137.073)

The Hancock Amendment (not John Hancock). Is a piece of state legislation written in 1980 that limits the amount of Missourians’ income that may be used to fund state government to no greater than the portion used to do so in 1981, except as authorized by a vote of the people. 

The simple answer is, the Hancock Amendment ensures that taxing jurisdictions (state, city, county, fire district, etc.) cannot increase revenue without a vote of the people. This concept applied to property taxes and allows for an annual inflationary adjustment. 

So now that we have learned that our taxes will not skyrocket, let’s check out a graphic on how the revenue to taxing jurisdictions is balanced:

Above, we found that revenue cannot be increased without a vote of the people. When assessed values increase, the mill levy MUST decrease to keep revenue neutral to avoid violation of the Hancock Amendment. The table below illustrates the property tax income to the City of Raytown over the past five years:

You’ll notice a sharp increase in property values for the 2019 reassessment. Did property taxes skyrocket? No. Is there a need to panic this time around? Also no.

Just like we stated above, when the city’s property value increases, the mill levy MUST decrease to avoid excess revenue and violation of the Hancock Amendment. 
To conclude, let’s assume something crazy to prove a point. The table below illustrates a hypothetical increase in property re-assessments of 150%. No that is not a typo. 
Will taxes skyrocket? No. We already knew that because if values increase, the mill levy must decrease:


Where do my taxes go, and who controls them?

Have you ever looked at your tax bill and wondered where the funds go and who controls them? I have some answers for you. Each entity that receives part of the property tax has an elected board that oversees those funds. Below is information on the entities that receive the most significant amounts of your property tax. You can find out where your tax dollars are going by going to

The most significant amount of money goes to Raytown C-2 School District. Their website has information on their meetings. The district includes areas outside of Raytown, and anyone living in the district pays property tax for the school district. The City of Raytown has no control over the funds or what the school district does with those funds, including school bus routes.

Next up, we have the Raytown Fire Protection District. This is a separate entity from the city. They provide us with many services, including ambulances, EMTs, Fire Suppression, and several other services. Also, if you’re a Raytown resident and need an ambulance, you aren’t billed for what your insurance doesn’t cover. Fun fact- insurance rates are sometimes based on the fire department’s rating. If a fire department has slow response times and a low rating, insurance rates could be higher than Raytown, where the fire department has a great rating. Again the City of Raytown has no control over these funds or their use.

The third entity is Jackson County. The Jackson county legislature oversees these funds. The City of Raytown has no control over these funds or their use.

Now that 87% of the property tax has been accounted for, we get to the City of Raytown. Raytown is a 4th class city. Being a fourth-class city puts some limits on what the city can do. Many other cities in Missouri that are a similar size have charters and a bit more control over what they’re allowed to do. Raytown only received 5.05% of my property taxes in 2021. The house with a market value of 77,000 dollars was 69.7120 dollars. Yes, these funds the Board of Aldermen controls, and budgets from prior years can be found here. 2022-23 was just approved and is expected to be available soon.

For perspective, let’s look at the 5th entity, the Mid Continent Library, which received 50.7369 dollars. Yes, the City of Raytown received about 19 dollars more of my tax dollars than the library. The Mid Continent Library is run by a board of elected officials also. No, the City of Raytown doesn’t have any control over the Library budget, yet per household, the library gets only about 1.5% less property tax dollars than the city.

Metropolitan Community College – Is governed by the elected board of trustees.

Mental Health- Jackson County has a Community Mental Health Levy, which a Board of Trustees oversees. The Levy generates about $11 million annually for indigent mental healthcare. The Board of Trustees has high standards for accountability. Funding is competitive and performance-based.

Handicapped Workshop – The Elected County Executive appoints these positions. Services-EITAS

State of Missouri Blind Pension Fund – The money from this is sent to the State and is administered by the Missouri Department of Social Services and controlled by the Director of the Department of Social Services. The elected Governor of Missouri appoints them. Information on this can be found here

Moral of this blog-

• Voters control who they put in control of their tax money.

• The City of Raytown doesn’t get much of what you pay in property taxes.


Let’s Talk About how the City is Funded.

The City of Raytown’s income is dependent on taxes and fees. Pictured are budgeted revenues for Raytown for 2021-22. The actual document, including the budget for last year, may be found at Several sources of income are required to go to specific places. Such as sales taxes that were implemented for Transportation, Parks, or Public Safety. So while General Sales Taxes are the highest source of income for the city overall, it is divided between several areas and can only be used for those items. Service charges, the next highest source of income for the city, are mainly from the sewer bills, and those funds from the sewer bills can only be used to fund the sanity sewer system and pay for those expenses. Franchise fees are the highest source of income. These are fees paid by utilities, like Spire, Evergy, and cable companies, to name a few, for the use of the right of way. These are often passed on to the consumers based on the usage of the services. You only pay the franchise fee on cable if you have cable. Property taxes only bring in about 7% of the city’s revenue, with $1,934,200 estimated revenue from it for 2021-22. The total revenue for the city is $26,187,234. If we remove the grants and Sanitary Sewer changes from the total, that leaves $18,230,534 that the city receives from taxes and fees. Based on the US Census Bureau data from 2020, the city has 30,012 people. Dividing the revenues, minus sewer and grants, the $18,230,534 divided by the population is $607.44 per person. If the $18,230,534 is divided by the number of housing units, that’s an average of $1,333.71 per household a year, $111.14 per month to keep the roads plowed, police operating, stray dogs picked up, parks, and all the other things the city provides its citizens, including trying to maintain the aging infrastructure of the roads, sidewalks, and stormwater system. How does this relate to the ballot measures? You might be wondering, well, that average of $111.14 per month isn’t going to keep up with what is needed, and the much-needed repairs won’t happen.

General Ideas

Not the time

There once was a house with a crack in the basement wall. The homeowner said it is not the time to fix it, and I don’t have time or money.

Time passes….

Homeowner see the crack is more significant, and a little water might get in when it rains for a few days. The homeowner says it’s not that bad, and I don’t have the time or money to fix it. The cost of things is high, and it’s just not in the budget.

Time passes….

The homeowner notices the crack is more significant, and now it leaks even in the slightest rainfall, and maybe there’s a bit of fine sand coming through the gap. The homeowner says it’s not the time to fix that as other expenses are high, and the extra money would require a loan, and paying that back would mean making cuts to some things they liked.

Time passes …

The crack is now large, the house is having issues with the basement flooding, the owner’s investment in the home is decreasing in value, and the repairs now cost more than they would have. Is it time for the homeowner to make the hard choices and tighten the belt to fix the crack and prevent it from getting worse and costing even more?

Raytown roads and stormwater system are like this house. The maintenance has been deferred and taxes not raised, and now many of our roads are in rough condition and need significant repairs to be restored to good condition. It’s never a good time to raise taxes, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Waiting will only make the problem worse and more expensive to repair. Even if your street isn’t on the list, do you want Raytown to be known as the city with bad roads? You put your house up for sale and get limited offers as “oh, that house is in Raytown; they have bad roads.” Even though your street might be good, the overall roads aren’t, and who wants to pay top dollar for a house in a town with bad roads. Bad roads due to deferred maintenance also indicate that the residents aren’t willing to invest in their city and maintain it.

It’s never really a good time to pay more for taxes, but while waiting for the right time, the roads will get worse, the cost of repairs will increase, and it will take more tax money to repair them.

Voting Info

Missouri Voting Law Changes and how they might affect you

Are you registered to vote, or do you need to?

First, in Missouri, you are required to be registered BEFORE the election. The registration deadline for the November 8th, 2022, election is October 12th, 2022.

Not sure if you’re registered. You can check that out on the Jackson County Election Board (JCEB) website here. Scroll to the JCEB Voter ID Lookup.

Don’t forget to check your address on the site so you don’t have any surprises later. If you need more information on registering to vote, go here

The Missouri law now requires that voters present a government-issued photo ID to vote.

Note, as of this writing, 9/2/2022, a case is pending to repeal this. It’s better to be prepared, so please keep reading. If you don’t provide a government-issued photo ID, your ballot will be considered provisional. It will only be counted if elections officials can verify your signature based on voter records.

So what kind of id is going to be accepted? Non-expired Missouri driver or non-driver license, Non expired military ID, including a veteran’s ID card, Non expired United States Passport, or another photo ID issued by the United States or the state of Missouri which is not expired.

If you don’t have any of those IDs, you might be able to get a free photo ID. Check out this link to see how

If you want more information on the Missouri Driver License and Non driver ID, check out the Missouri Department of Revenue site here

Check out the official Dates

The link to see the Jackson county election calendar check this is out

Want to know what’s on your ballot?

After the ballots are completed, you can also check and see what is on the ballot for the election in your precinct, fire district, school district, city all the other political communities you fall into.

Please make sure you’re registered to vote and know what’s on the ballot and have the necessary ID when you get to the polling place.


Property tax 101- GO Bonds

The county collects property taxes for several different taxing entities. The city of Raytown is one of several of these. Each entity receives money based on taxes increases for those entities based on what voters have approved. The City of Raytown hasn’t had approved increases in decades. Due to the lack of funds the city hasn’t been able to keep up with road maintenance and solve our storm water run off issues. The GO (general obligation) bonds will help with this. Money from bonds may only be used for the purpose defined. Extra taxes are collected for the bonds, until the bonds are paid off. The GO bonds will increase the money paid to the City of Raytown from property taxes. This increase is only until the bonds are paid off and the increases will only occur when money is used. Similar to getting to a home improvement loan for your house, where you are pre approved for a certain amount, but you only pay interest and off the amounts you use.

More information on the rules for Missouri Fourth-Class Cities is here rules for Missouri Fourth-Class Cities