Assessor Says Funding Fight Will Be Costly


County Assessor Bradley L. Jacobs said Tuesday that his office might not be able to complete this year's tax roll on time because the Board of Supervisors refuses to provide adequate funding.

In a memo to supervisors, Jacobs said that the board's rejection last week of his request for $395,000 in additional funding "is likely to result in some amount of [tax revenue] loss and/or delay of tax dollar revenues to the county," cities and other government agencies.

"Please be put on notice that some work will not be done in a timely manner, some might not be done at all, and responsibility for this is with the Board of Supervisors," Jacobs wrote.

The memo is the latest salvo in a long-running feud between the board and Jacobs over how much money the assessor's office receives and how it is used.

Board of Supervisors Chairman William G. Steiner said Tuesday that county Chief Executive Officer Jan Mittermeier's office carefully reviewed Jacobs' request for more money but ultimately decided not to recommend board approval.

"Obviously, we can't expect someone to complete his responsibility without the proper resources, but we've heard these threats before from Mr. Jacobs," Steiner said. "We are not sure if he is crying wolf."

Neither Jacobs nor other officials at the assessor's office could say exactly how the board's action would affect the nearly $180-billion tax roll and exactly which work would be delayed or dropped. Jacobs would not elaborate on the prediction in his memo that some government agencies might lose tax revenue.

"We don't know yet. We'll have to see what happens as we go along," Jacobs said. "We are going to do our best to complete the job."

Jacobs said that the $395,000 amounts to roughly 20,000 hours of labor that his office projects it will need to complete assessments of the more than 700,000 properties in the county. He said his office's workload has increased in recent months as the real estate market improves.

Steiner and other board members have been pressing Jacobs to participate in a state program that could provide the county with as much as $14 million to improve assessment operations.

The money is provided in the form of a loan that the county does not have to pay back if it reaches certain efficiency goals.

Jacobs, however, has refused to apply for the money, saying he doesn't believe the county qualifies for the program.

He also has questioned the logic of taking the loans without a clear plan for paying the money back in case the efficiency goals aren't met.

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