I am very excited to write this month’s County Corner. I am thrilled to share with you just some of the achievements the assessor’s office and our County has accomplished throughout the 2017 year.
The year started off with a new County Recorder; Kristi Blair. Right out of the gate we decided to work together to bring customer service into the Lake Havasu and Bullhead areas. We had heard multiple times how the fine folks in these areas desired better customer service. We got to work trying to figure out how we could accomplish this task. Kristi and I realized we would be more efficient and it would cost less to train one person for both the recorders duties and the assessors duties. For the first time that we know of, Mohave County has brought two departments together and hired personnel to accommodate both departments to provide customer service. Lake Havasu and Bullhead should see our new employees at their stations sometime this month. Thanks goes out to the entire Recorders and Assessors offices for working “outside the box” allowing for our vision to succeed.
Early in the year my staff was able to assess the new businesses of Medical Marijuana (grow houses and dispensaries) throughout the County. This type of assessment was new to my staff so we invited the Arizona Department of Revenue’s talented members to join us in our tours and began the process of successfully adding these businesses onto our tax rolls. The appraisals were a success, we are now prepared for any additional Medical Marijuana business that will be coming into Mohave County.
In the spring the County treasurer; Cindy Landa Cox, and I began our work in Colorado City. The final results were exciting, with multiple trips and tons of work, we helped the United Efforts Plan (UEP) establish parcel splits; subdividing the large parcels into smaller easier to purchase plots. This work enabled the families of Colorado City to purchase their homes and the land beneath it for the first time EVER!. The fact that our help enabled this beautiful area of Colorado City and Centennial Park to plan on economic development and prosperity for the first time in many, many years was very rewarding.
Chloride was another unique event that I am proud to have been involved in. Superior Court Judge Charles Gurtler had promised the late recorder Carol Meier that he would help resolve the almost 100 year transfer of excess “Township” parcels to actual owners. State statute called for a superior court judge to auction off these parcels in order have the properties deeded owners. There were multiple steps to take to make this process legal. With the help of multiple department appraisers, Melody Jensen Cartography Supervisor and the cartography department, our Deputy Assessor; Ken Fielder and of course Judge Gurtler, all legislative steps were taken and there are now new owners of multiple parcels in Chloride. In addition the community of Chloride was able to benefit by accepting the $72,000 obtained through the auction process. I am very happy to have assisted in getting this promise accomplished. We all hope Carol Meier is smiling.
Another yearlong project was the valuing of commercial wells in Mohave County. It was brought to my attention that the very deep, very large water wells in the newly established farming areas had not been assessed. It took many months, lots of appraisals, outside expert testimony and communications with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, but we managed to accomplish our goal and will be including almost 100 more wells in our next tax roll. Much thanks goes to my lead appraiser; Bret McKee and his staff for doing such a great job.
As most saw in the headlines, our department did the grueling task of canvassing Oatman. Oatman is different than most all other communities in Mohave County. With its age and remote area and unique qualities we decided canvassing was the best approach to get an efficient count of the values. Canvassing is to assess ALL improvements within an area at one time. It is not always necessary to “canvass” due to updated computer software, permitting and newer improvements with subdivisions. Most times just appraising individual improvements are all that is necessary in order to get that snapshot of values. But Oatman is unique. Due to some past concerns we felt safety in numbers was paramount and even invited our sheriff along for the ride, thanks to Sheriff Schuster for his support. The canvas was a success. The improvements added were over $850,000 in Full Cash Value. We are proud to pass down a thorough Oatman tax roll to the treasurer this next tax season.
With lots of help from my administrator; Teresa Woods, our LHC Appraisal Supervisor Marcia Clark and the entire staff we re-wrote our “Understanding Property Values” booklet for distribution to all of you. You can get a copy of this booklet on our website at www.mohavecounty.us, click on Assessors page or come by one of our offices for a paper copy.
I cannot say enough about how professional, skillful and AMAZING my entire staff is. Without my staff we would not have been able to accomplish all these achievements in less than a year. I am blessed to have inherited a fantastic department that literally “has my back”.
To help me be a more educated assessor I also took Appraisal classes and have successfully passed both Certification #1 and Certification #2. Boy am I glad those classes are finished. I will now have more time on my calendar to help YOU; my valued constituents this coming year.
I sincerely hope that everyone has had an amazing Holiday season. I wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.