The Johnson County Administrator’s Office announced today that County Appraiser Paul Welcome will retire this June after nearly three decades in the role.
Welcome was named county appraiser in 1991, and currently oversees a staff of around 90 employees who are tasked with setting valuation and keeping records for around 220,000 parcels.
Welcome said in the announcement that he was retiring to focus on “health and travel.” His last day with the county will be June 14.
County Chair Ed Eilert thanked Welcome for his contributions to Johnson County government.
“Being a county appraiser presents ongoing challenges, and Paul has been very diligent in following the state’s statutory requirements and meeting those state rules for valuing property,” said Eilert said. “He has done a very good job in a challenging position.”
Welcome and his team have faced some scrutiny in recent years as swaths of Johnson County residential neighborhoods saw home valuations increase sharply, raising questions about property tax burden — particularly on seniors living on fixed incomes. Last year, Welcome and other representatives of the appraiser’s office held town hall meetings in northeast Johnson County to answer questions about home values in the area that jumped more than 20 percent in many cases.
Many of the same neighborhoods that saw steep valuations increases in 2018 saw significant jumps again when valuation notices went out last month.
The office has also been at odds with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and several big box stores over the methodology used to value commercial property. Eilert and Welcome made a tour of governing bodies throughout the county last year to warn of what they labeled “dark store theory.”
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Welcome worked in valuation positions in Texas prior to his move to Johnson County. He is a past president of the International Association of Assessing Officers. He served for a time as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
The board of county commissioners will discuss the process for seeking a new county appraiser in mid-April.