Although the effort to recall the Assessor and Commissioners was unsuccessful it was a very worthwhile exercise since it exposed the many inequities in the property tax system as well as exposing the shortcomings of some elected officials.
The taxpayers in Bannock County are the ultimate employers of the Assessor, Commissioners, and other officials. We hire them by election. Our taxes pay their salaries, their substantial benefits, and provide all the necessary tools for their employment (offices, equipment and supplies, vehicles, support staff, training, etc.)
As employers we should expect certain basics from these employees: competence — the ability to perform the work for which they were hired; honesty; transparency; a commitment to work for the best interests of their employer — the taxpayers of Bannock County.
The Assessor appears to have failed most of these basic tests. By supporting the refusal to share comps with afflicted taxpayers and by supporting several of the unusual valuation techniques Commissioner Brown has not demonstrated an appropriate interest in the well being of Bannock County taxpayers.
The property tax process is very confusing to many taxpayers. Too often during this debacle, when taxpayers were asking for assistance they were told “you’ll just have to figure it out” rather than “let me help you with that.”
Between now and the next election the Assessor and Commissioners will have an opportunity to grow into their jobs. That will require accepting responsibility for problems rather than blaming others and a commitment to truth, transparency, engaging in the thought process and working for the best interest of their employers — the taxpayers. If that happens we’ll all be better off.