1995 court petition background to raise taxes for expired Birmingham Drainage District
On June 12, 1995, Property Reserve, Inc, AKA Deseret Title Holding Corp, a non-profit corporation,
through McKinley's firm, Swanson & Midgley, filed a petition (CV195-003357 CC) as the majority
landowner for reassessment of benefits in the BDD. The court status report for the petition only list
the names of Thomas F. Hadley, James L. Riddle and Daniel Sissom, etal. Hadley and Riddle
(Village of Birmingham directors) may have been included because the levee was built to protect
the city of Birmingham. It is clear they thought the people of the Village of Birmingham would pay
less maintenance tax if the large corporate clients of Property Reserve, Inc, paid more. That was
not going to happen.. Sissom of course worked for Property Reserve, Inc, and was Overseer and
maintenance man for the BDD.
On June 16, 1995, the court ordered publication of notice of petition and Order for mailed notice of
petition all as per Order filed. The taxpayers would have had an opportunity to respond to a mailed
notice and objections would have been filed. Unfortunately, the court vacated that Order on August
On September 15,1995, the Court Ordered the appointment of three commissioners to reassess
the benefits of land within the district.
On September 15, 1995, the Court also Ordered the appointment of an attorney to represent
persons who may be entitled to benefit of Soldiers and Sailor's Civil Relief Act of the United States,
and for appointment of Guardian Ad Litem to represent unknown persons, infants, and incompetent
persons. Who were not going to be notified.
As of December 31, 1995, BDD had $528,461.97 on hand in cash for maintenance of the drainage
facility and levee. Clay County had remitted $35,755.17 in maintenance taxes to BDD of the
$156,645.27 in total receipts. Total expenses for the year was $89,187.26 including legal expenses
of $9,724.51 paid to McKinley's firm of Swanson & Midgley. Dan Sissom's BDD income was
On January 25,1996, the Commissioners petitioned the Court (which was approved) to hire an
appraiser at a cost of $1,500.00. The cost was to be paid for by the petitioners. However, the
$1,500.00 payment appears to have been paid by the BDD rather than the petitioner and is
reflected in the BDD financial records for 1996. The need for the appraiser was to place a value on
the agricultural land, mostly owned by Property Reserve. This value was to be compared with the
fair market value of residential and commercial property.
As of December 31, 1996, BDD had $533,706.51 on hand in cash for maintenance of the drainage
facility and levee. Clay County had remitted $36,288.31 in maintenance taxes to BDD of the
$614,569.51 in total receipts. Total expenses for the year was $80,863.00 including legal expenses
of $2,913.41 paid to McKinley's firm of Swanson & Midgley. Dan Sissom's BDD income was
On September 23, 1997, the Court issued an Order accepting the Commissions report on
reassessing the benefits of the district. The Court also Ordered that the commissioners be paid: 1)
Gary K. Patton $4,192.50; 2) Cynthia L. Reams $6,978.75; and 3) Jerald L. Hill $4,160.55. Again,
the commissioners were paid by the BDD rather than Property Reserve and is reflected in the 1997
On October 2, 1997, the petitioners filed a Motion For Relief From Judgment. There was a very
curious statement in the Motion: "Current development within the District is not forced to pay
their fair share. Rather, they are allowed to avoid the tax liability for their development."
The motion was made to allow raising taxes on new residential and commercial buildings annually
as they were built.
According to the document, "With the approval of the Commissioners fees, reassessment of
the Birmingham Drainage District will cost the petitioners and the District in excess of
$20,000.00. Actually, non-profit Property Reserve, Inc, as the petitioner, who controlled the BDD,
paid itself $28,892.25 out of the BDD maintenance funds for legal work. Before legal fees, the
cost to the taxpayers for this court action by Property Reserve was $45,723.75. The only
entity who benefited from this action was Property Reserve.
On October 22, 1997, Property Reserve, Inc, got the judgment it wanted. The court established a
value for agricultural land based on soil class. The soil classes ranged from Class 1 with a value of
$1,800.00 per acre to Class 8 at a value of $100.00 per acre. Thats not a bad deal when you
consider the City off Kansas City paid $6,213.00 per acre for some of the same land in 1973.
The benefits assessed: 1) to agricultural property was 50% of the assessed value; 2) to commercial
property was 90% of assessed value; 3) to residential property was 70% of assessed value; and 4)
to governmental, quasi-governmental, railroad and utility property was 60% of assessed value.
As of December 31, 1997, BDD had $773,536.85 on hand in cash for maintenance of the drainage
facility and levee. Clay County had remitted $24,582.24 in maintenance taxes to BDD of the
$355,777.06 in total receipts. Total expenses for the year was $115,946.72 including legal
expenses of $8,646.48 paid to McKinley's firm of Swanson & Midgley. Plus, the $44,223.75 paid to
Property Reserve Inc, and the Commissioners as legal expenses. Dan Sissom's BDD income was