James Strahan - Taney County Tax Assessor Invterview.

Taney County Tax assessments always provide vibrant debate and tension among leadership. The interview posted above was shot during a break in the Taney County Board of Equalization meeting last week where citizens can challenge the assessed values and corresponding tax rates for their property.

Tax Assessor James Strahan was belligerent in his battle with Missouri's Tax Commission over assertions that rates weren't in compliance with increasing property value in the county. The battle made headlines as Strahan asserted, "I am not a puppet of the state" - who withheld nearly $750,000 in funds.

Taney County sued the state to recover the funds in the 32nd Circuit which covers Taney and Christian Counties but the suit was moved to Cole County in Jackson County where Missouri's Judicial ruled in favor of the state.

During the controversy Strahan accused among other things that Taney County Commissioner Chuck Pennel gave special treatment in the form of reduced taxation to personal friends stating:

"During the 2007 Taney County Board of Equalization Taney County Commissioner Chuck Pennel vigorously battled for lower assessed values for specific friends and individuals. Immediately following the Board of Equalization, Commissioner Pennel constantly supported an additional 15 to 30 percent increase equating an approximate $3,000,000 to $10,000,000 increase to the citizens of Taney County. Commissioner Pennel and Commissioner Herschend decided not to fund the Assessor’s office and would send the employees home cutting services to the citizens of Taney County id the Assessor did not cut a deal. "

The full text of Strahan's article was published on Tech Trends - "James Strahan “Two County Commissioners actions support higher property tax issues.”

As Taney County failed to receive funds from the state the Taney County Commission voted to withhold funding for Strahan's office on two separate occasions leaving his personnel without employment during the holiday season in 2007.

As aroused citizens gathered at a recent Taney County Commissioners meeting to protest property tax increases, the rhetoric continued with heated language passing between the three person commission that runs the county government.

The interview above is with James Strahan between heavy fire at the most recent Board of Equalization meeting.

The Board of Equalization voted to cut recent tax increases by 50 percent for 15,000 of Taney County taxpayers.