Commissioners OK appraiser request
By a 2-1 vote, Wahkiakum County commissioners approved Assessor Bill Coon's request to increase his part-time appraiser/deputy to a full-time appraiser.
Coons has brought the request to the board of commissioners several times, and Tuesday, he presented his case again: Following state law, the county is moving from a cycle of property revaluations from every four years to every year. The change will require more appraisal work than staff can handle, he said.
The promotion would cost an extra $3,213.88, Coons said. He added that total salary and wages for his department will be $7,421 less than they were in 2008.
Commissioners received a letter from the county Board of Adjustment supporting the request. The taxpayers of the county will benefit from having adequate staff to handle the revaluations, the letter said.
Commission Chair Dan Cothren wanted to find other solutions. He suggested delaying the move for a year or delegating some of the administrative work the assessor does to the office's deputy or clerk.
Coons responded that delegating tasks was unfeasible. The calculations are complicated, and he would end up doing the work one way or another, he said.
"I'm having a hard time with this," Cothren said. "I'd like to see how it goes this year and if it gets out of line, we do an emergency action to take care of it."
"This year is so critical," Coons said. "Do it of this year, and then cut it back."
Commissioners Mike Backman and Blair Brady liked the limited time period and said they would support Coon's request.
Brady said that when one compares the department with those of similar size counties, the request "doesn't seem unwarranted."
He added that he agreed this year seems to be an important time with the change to annual revaluation.
"Yeah; give it a try," Backman said.
Brady seconded Backman's motion to approve the change for February-December of 2014, with the proviso that the courthouse union agree to the temporary change in job status.
The motion passed with Brady and Backman voting in favor and Cothren opposed.
"Right yet, I'm not ready," Cothren said.