Thursday, February 20, 2014

Progress Report by Our Salt Lake County Assessor Kevin Jacobs

Dear Fellow Republicans,
First of all, I want to thank all of you for the opportunity I have to serve as your County Assessor! I knew what I was getting into, and would like to report on the progress I've made since taking office last September. As promised, utilizing my experience and management background, I hit the ground running and have made significant changes to the office structure and how the office operates. The most significant changes I've made are:
Reorganized the office
  • I split the Real Property Division into two smaller divisions, the Residential Division and the Commercial Division.
  • At the same time, I dissolved the Statistical and Modeling Division, as well as the Appeals Section, and assigned those individuals to the respective Residential or Commercial Division.
  • This realignment means the two divisions have all the responsibilities and resources for their area. All phases of property valuation are now "self-contained" within each division.
Appraisers and statisticians now work together as a team, which enhances their communication and makes them more accountable for the final product.
Completely revised how appraisers are assigned their work
  • Previously, appraisers would work in one area of the county and then move to another area the following year. Now, appraisers are assigned to one area and will not rotate. They will be responsible for new construction, reappraisal, and the appeals that come from their area.
  • The appraisers will focus on gaining a very detailed knowledge of their area and the changes that are happening within it.

Made recommendations on streamlining appeals to the Board of Equalization
  • If our records show you have a finished basement, when in fact you don't, you shouldn't have to go through a lengthy appeals process to have the error corrected. I recommend appeals dealing with physical characteristics be immediately sent to the Assessor's Office so we can verify the data, correct the error, and get a revised value on the property.
  • Currently, a large number of the appeals filed with the County are not sent to the Assessor's Office, but instead go directly to a hearing officer. Many of these appeals end up going to the state, which then involves my office. I want the opportunity to correct errors, whether they relate to physical data or value, at the earliest possible level. Taxpayers shouldn't have to appeal to the state when the issue could have been resolved at the County level! I have recommended that all appeals, regardless of the issue, be reviewed by my office. While this will add to our workload, I feel strongly it is our responsibility to address taxpayer concerns and get them resolved as quickly as possible.

    While these are not all of the changes I've made, I feel they are the most significant and will have a long lasting effect on the office. I am committed to making the office more accountable, while serving you in the most efficient and effective manner possible!
Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you as the Salt Lake County Assessor and I appreciate your support!
If I may be of help to you, please contact me at:
385-468-7971 (work)
801-502-4729 (cell)
Thank you,
Kevin Jacobs
Salt Lake County Assessor