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Protest - Unfair 1Alton, Mo. — A group of about 40 persons turned out at the courthouse here Monday to protest what would create a county-wide property tax increase in Oregon County.
The protest was sponsored by a local property rights group, the Commonsense Property Rights Coalition, in response to a recent increase in residential/agricultural property assessments in the county.
According to a spokesman for the group, Mike Slack, some property owners have received increases of up to 50 or 100 per cent, with at least one increase of 300 percent.
The County Assessor is reportedly under pressure from the State Tax Commission to jump the assessments up 20 per cent to bring them into line with other counties in the state. Oregon County is acknowledged as the poorest county in the state
According to Slack the assessor is only allowed to increase assessments 15 per cent without conducting a full county-wide appraisal under state law.
All of the people in the protest today signed up for a appeal hearing before the County Equalization Board, and if this does not straighten the matter out the State Tax Commission will be called down to the county, Slack said.
During the protest Charles Alford, Oregon County’s longtime tax assessor, did not come out of the courthouse to talk to the gathering. Only one county board member, Associate Commissioner Edward Casey, came out to listen to some of the protesters.
Slack said the group acknowledges the need for taxes and are only trying to get county officials to follow state law.
In addition to their protest, the group is consulting a West Plains, Mo., attorney and considering filing a class action suit against the county and state if they do not stop at 15 per cent.
C.L.

Oregon County Courthouse

Oregon County Courthouse

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