Assessors are appointed to their position by a Conference Board consisting of the members of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors of all incorporated cities and a member from each school district within the jurisdiction. A city with a population of ten-thousand or more may elect to have their own assessor. Assessors are required, by statute, to pass a state examination and complete a Continuing Education Program consisting of 150 hours of formal classroom instruction with 90 hours tested and a passing grade of 70% attained. The latter requirement must be met in order for the assessor to be re-appointed to the position every six years. The Deputy Assessor also must pass a state examination as well as successfully complete 90 hours of classroom instruction of at least 60 hours are tested. The Conference Board approves the assessor's budget and after a public hearing acts on adoption of same. The assessor is limited, by statute, depending upon the value of the jurisdiction, to a levy limitation for his budget.
What are the Assessor's Duties?
The assessor is charged with several administrative and statutory duties; however, the primary duty and responsibility is to cause to be assessed all real property within his/her jurisdiction except that which is otherwise provided by law. This would include residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural classes of property. Real property is revalued every two years. The effective date of the assessment is January 1st of the current year. The assessor determines a full or partial value of new construction, or improvements depending upon the state of completion as of January 1st.
Estimating Market Value
To estimate the market value of your property, the assessor generally uses three approaches. The first approach is to find the properties that are comparable to yours which have sold recently. Local conditions peculiar to your property are taken into consideration. The assessor also uses sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessment in a community, in order to adjust for local conditions. This method is generally referred to as the "market approach," and is usually considered the most important in determining the value of a residential property. The second approach is the "cost approach," and is an estimate of how many dollars, at current labor and material prices, it would take to replace your property with one similar to it. In the event improvement is not new, appropriate amounts for depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from the replacement value. Value of the land then would be added to arrive at a total estimate of the value. The "income approach" is the third method used if your property produces income such as an apartment or office building. In that case, your property could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income. The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value. This method requires thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the subject property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously effect the final estimate of value.