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‘We’re not going to take them:’ Woman’s plan to pay property taxes in nickels foiled; new plan hatched

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri woman who planned to get the attention of county administrators lost a battle in what she called a war with Jackson County.

In November, WDAF reported on Cynthia Lockett’s plan to pay her property tax in nickels. Her idea caught the attention of folks in Jackson County government — but not the people she was hoping.

Lockett’s 2019 assessment increased her land value by 135%, and her overall market value increased by 45%.

Multiple phone calls to multiple people at the county were not returned, and her appeal was still being processed. Feeling ignored, Lockett decided to pay her tax bill in nickels to protest.

All the nickels needed came to 1,419 rolls, weighing 625 pounds.

“It is going to be a little inconvenient to count those nickels,” Lockett said in November. “I mean, they will be rolled. I’m not trying to be a complete jerk, but it is just — they want to ignore us, ignore us, ignore us, ignore us and I thought, ‘You are not going to be able to ignore this blue buggie when I wheel it in.'”

Before Lockett could roll her blue buggie full of nickels into the courthouse to pay her taxes, she finally got a letter from the county.

They didn’t address her property tax concerns, but they did inform her that her coins will not be accepted.

“Basically, it said, ‘We’re not going to take them because that would take time, and it would impede the progress of our normal day,'” Locket said, paraphrasing the letter. “I think it’s interesting that they can find the time to respond to this, but they can’t respond to the egregious bills and ridiculous assessments that they are sending us.”

Lockett said she appreciated the irony of the letter.

Jackson County Collections Director Whitney Miller was concerned with the time it would take her staff to process a tax payment in coins, but Lockett said the county has no respect for the time and expense residents must deal with to fight what she calls unfair and illegal property tax increases.

A spokesperson for Jackson County said the Collections Department and the Assessment Department are separate.

Lockett said she would pay her property tax on time, before the end of the year, but still defiant, she will only offer a hint about her new plan to pay in protest.

“It won’t be nickels, but it’s not gonna be a check either,” she said.

There may be one possible explanation about why Lockett did not receive a response regarding her appeal — revealed Monday afternoon, Dec. 23.

The county said after requesting access to an email account managed by the Board of Equalization staff, the Jackson County Assessment Department discovered 8,600 unread emails. Read the board’s full statement here.

It wasn’t immediately known if Lockett’s email was one of the overlooked emails.

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