Commissioners, assessor discuss staffing level
Wahkiakum County Assessor Bill Coons this week pressed his request to the county board of commissioners for an increase in staffing.
To conform to a new state law, the assessor's office is switching from a cycle of revaluing county property every four years to revaluing every year. That switch requires more work than the present staff can accomplish, he said Tuesday.
Coons has recommended promoting his half-time residential appraiser/clerk to full time appraiser. That would give the office two appraisers; Coons also has the certification.
Commissioners were cool to the request. Commissioner Mike Backman moved to approve the request, but the motion died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Blair Brady commented that the county has spent thousands of dollars to upgrade computer programs for the assessor's office that were supposed to handle the work.
Coons replied that since taking office, he has cleaned up a backlog and reduced previously over valued assessments.
Under the annual revaluation, the office will continue to inspect property in one of the county’s four assessment zones every year and also conduct statistically based revaluations every year for all other properties.
"I just can't fathom why it's so difficult to get resources that I need," he said. "I look at my peers in the courthouse; they have gotten additional resources."
"You've made promises," replied Commissioner Dan Cothren. "You said you were going to be the appraiser person. We're now looking at two appraisers. I have a hard time with that one. We did allow a lot of money to help you get to where you need to go."
"I can do a quarter of the county at a time but I can't do the whole county," Coons said.
Brady said that before he is willing to second the request he wants to consult with a couple comparable size counties to see how many they have on staff.
"That's fair enough," Coons said. "We'll revisit this in a couple of weeks."