Letter: Assessment office going down a familiar path
Mr. Compton, Gloucester County’s newly appointed assessor, is on the same path as his predecessor. The Real Estate Assessment Office is living in a world of always new and better computer models, dreaming of new $75,000 Pictograph software, generating excuses about short staffing, and deadlines they can’t meet.
The goal of the office should be to do the best assessment possible, within the time available, with the tools and staff available. No assessment is going to be 100 percent perfect. However, each assessment should be more accurate than the previous one, building on the best data available.
At the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Oct. 18, Mr. Compton indicated he did not have the staff to update the database to include the Board of Equalization resolution of the 1,600 appeals from the previous assessment. This should be the top priority of the assessor’s office. It is not rocket science, or glamorous—it is simple data entry on a computer. The task could be initiated immediately by contracting it out, detailing personnel from or assigning the job to the Information Technology office, or hiring high school students, or Rappahannock Community College students on a part-time basis. Full-time permanent staff is not required for this. Completing this task alone will make the new assessment more accurate than last time. It will certainly reduce the 1,600 appeals.
The Board of Supervisors’ vote to keep the deadline at 1/1/2013 and Supervisor Ressler’s anger at the "more of the same" approach are both well taken. The BOS must now continue to push the Real Estate Assessment Department to expedite their principal job of building a more accurate database while secondarily building the tools that will eventually make the job better in the long run.