Nominated for International Award for Second Time

LIVINGSTON, La. – Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor and his office have been nominated for the 2011 Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award, which is presented by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) to those agencies that have instituted improvements in their offices that can serve as models for the industry.

This is the second time in four years that Taylor has been nominated for one the industry’s top awards.  He was first nominated for the Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award in 2008.

“We are excited about this honor and the significance it has in the industry,” Taylor said. “It is a testament to the strides we have made as an office – to go from where we were several years ago to becoming an office that others throughout the country, and even the world, can look at for ideas on how to do things right.”

In the official nomination form, which was submitted by Ronnie Volkmar of Geographic Computer Technologies, LLC, of Metairie, whose company works with numerous assessor offices throughout the Gulf Coast region, Taylor is said to have “implemented so many projects to upgrade and enrich the lives of (his) constituents that it’s hard to choose just one” for presentation.

“I have worked with a lot of parishes in this state, and all things considered, the Livingston Parish Assessor’s Office just stands out,” Volkmar said.

The nomination letter notes that Taylor has converted his office assessment system from an archaic program to a more advanced computerized system, the majority of his staff has earned IAAO certification, and he has remodeled his office for more effective management of records.  He also has been a “champion” in the cause to urge districts to reduce their millages as parish revenues have increased, thereby saving Livingston Parish taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Still, it is Tayor’s pilot program that was launched in February 2010 that Volkmar touts as the basis for the nomination.  The program requires all new residents, including renters, to first report their property to the assessor’s office in order for utilities to be turned on.  Currently, the municipalities of Denham Springs, Walker, and Livingston are instituting the program.

“The innovative program has helped to weed out numerous rental properties that were claiming homestead exemption, which is illegal,” Volkmar writes in his nomination letter.  “There have also been numerous occasions where permit fraud was uncovered.  This program has helped generate taxable value by discovering parcels and improvement only parcels (mobile homes) that were not being reported.”

“It keeps the honest taxpayers from having to subsidize dubious practices and bearing the tax load from those who would ‘cheat’ the system,” he said. “This program has helped keep tax assessments in Livingston Parish ‘fair and equitable.”

Taylor said the new program has been lauded by those municipalities that have instituted it, and he hopes he can expand the program to other parish municipalities and implement it at the parish permit office in coming years.

Taylor was nominated for IAAO’s Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award in 2008 for his office’s productivity and improvements in simplifying procedures and utilizing technology to advance data management.  He was cited for his inter-office agreements with other parish agencies to share and maximize resources, and for becoming one of the first assessors in the state to post parish tax rolls on the Internet, through a partnership with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Taylor will be recognized by his peers for his latest nomination at the IAAO 77th Annual International Conference on Assessment Administration, which will be held in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 18-21.

The IAAO is the leading nonprofit, educational and research association for individuals in the assessment profession and others with an interest in property valuation and taxation.  The association’s mission is to promote innovation and excellence in property appraisal, assessment administration and property tax policy through professional development, education, research and technical assistance. IAAO currently serves more than 7,000 members worldwide.