Tax assessorResidents left on the hook

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, June 23, 2012

Supervisors have agreed to pay Humphreys County Tax Assessor Margaret Parks $1,600 for training employees of the Warren County Tax Assessor’s Office.

In the big scheme of a $14.3 million budget, $1,600 is small potatoes. But they’re our potatoes, and we’re getting stuck.

The question of whether an arrangement with an elected official from another county is proper might be debatable, but how we got to this point is the more important concern.

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When former Warren County Tax Assessor Richard Holland retired after 16 years and Angela Brown was elected in a countywide vote in November to fill the post in January, every employee in the office quit, retired or was fired.

That kind of turnover is sometimes expected when a new official takes office, but more often than not the reason for an empty office under a new administration can be blamed on politics.

That’s a shame.

An office full of qualified and experienced clerks and assessors was summarily dismissed, and now we’re paying the price — literally.

There is no doubt employees in the office need to be well-trained. They perform an incredibly important function and without their diligence, Warren County and its residents ultimately suffer.

But this isn’t the only added cost since Brown took office.

In March the county approved a three-year $442,000 contract with two private appraisers to perform tasks once handled in-house.

The bill for starting from zero is beginning to emerge and add up, and, as usual, the taxpayers are getting stuck with the check.