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Taxes: The system is not flawed
It is good to see problems with the Assessors Office being discussed (News-Times, March 26).
In 1978, when Treasurer Pat Pheifer and I set up the computer system, we had all the bases covered in the program. Only cosmetic changes have been made. You will note that the structure values are, in the most cases, not being contested. The use of building measurements, the Marshal Stevens annual construction costs and depreciation for age make these assessments reasonable and fairly accurate. Set up in 1979, it is still in use and still valid.
Land value is the problem. When I left office in 1982, I had directed all parcels of land be classified as to type, size, use and available utilities, such as water, sewage and electricity. This was partially completed, but poorly.
In my research for a personal appeal to the Board of Equalization, I find that nothing more has been done since that time. Unlike parcels have been given the same code, providing dissimilar comparables and unrealistic appraisals. Calculations of values have been done on a one-size-fits-all factor.
The assessment date is Jan. 1, of the Assessment Year. Comparables after that date are the values at the date of sale not of the assessment date. Late sales are being used for appraisals.
The assessor is not short of personnel. He is short of management skills to do his job. His personnel are either not innovated, not properly trained, poorly supervised or unqualified.
I would be happy to tell you how the 25-year-old program will work and provide fair assessed values, consistent with inflation and the economy.
There is no flaw, just inept data collectors in the assessors office.
Roy L. Compton
Former president of State Assessors Association