26 March 2014

Jake Parkinson - Candidate for the Salt Lake County Assessor

First Meeting, 25 March 2014

Jake Parkinson is currently serving as the Appraisal Supervisor in Tooele County.  He has worked as an appraiser in public and private positions for about the last 10 years.  You can read more about his background on his website.

Mr. Parkinson's general position seems to be that the existing management structure in the Salt Lake County Assessor office has been around for too long (he cites that it has been in place for 18 years) and that this longevity is stifling change.

He, like Mr. Jacobs, cites that appraisals in new growth areas in Salt Lake County are currently of inconsistent quality.  While Mr. Jacobs feels that appraisers with regional expertise will fix the problem, Mr. Parkinson feels that revising the statistical model used to appraise homes is a better approach.  At the risk of oversimplifying, Mr. Parkinson believes that more trust in data will fix the appraisal issue while Mr. Jacobs believes that less trust in data will fix it.

Mr. Parkinson cites a statute that the assessor office is currently not following that is costing the office about $500,000 annually.  (I haven't had a chance yet to hear Mr. Jacob's position on this.)  Mr. Parkinson distills this down to the office effectively disobeying the law, though that part of his position seems to be a bit of hyperbole.

Mr. Parkinson generally feels that the $12.5 million budget that the assessor office has is too high.  The one detail that I gleaned in our five minutes was the above statute, if followed, would cut the budget down to $12 million.

Mr. Parkinson was in the process of listing innovations in other assessor offices around the state (nation?), but I only heard one of them which was that when an appeal on the part of the homeowner succeeds, their home will not be reappraised for five years (I didn't fully understand this; I need more information to find out why this doesn't balloon the number of appeals in those areas).  Overall, I need more information to be able to comment on the amount of substance that his ideas have.  Certainly, though, his ambition and desire to make change is clear.

Generally, Jake is passionate about change.  He has been in the trenches for many years and believes that his front-line experience has prepared him sufficiently to run the assessor's office.  I'll have more information in a few days.