Jay Lenkersdorfer

Among the many primary elections that are taking place this May is the race to be the next Cassia County Assessor. Let me explain why I am the right person for the job. The simplest description of the Assessor’s job is determining how much each parcel of land is worth. The property taxes fund a huge portion of the state budget each year so there is a substantial burden on the Assessor’s office to get the job done right.

The Assessor, along with his team of professional men and women, are responsible for assessing the value of your property. Why is this assessment so important? Because ultimately what your property is valued at determines how much property tax you will be paying.

In the past two years property values in Mini-Cassia have skyrocketed. As these values have gone up so have the property taxes you pay. In my own situation, four of six properties saw increased taxes, but two properties actually went down. Why did this happen? Certainly, this is something I need to look into. I am convinced that there are hundreds of situations in Cassia County that have similar story lines. Some in the community feel that the retirement of the current assessor and one of his key employees puts the county in jeopardy of missing out on institutional knowledge, but sometimes the best thing that can happen is for a wholesale change at the top. The state of Idaho has all the knowledge necessary to inform an incoming Assessor.

If you live in the City of Burley you are assessed twice for the public library, once on the permanent levy that was instigated when the library moved to its current location and a second levy for the override that is voted on every two years. You also pay an assessment for the wastewater treatment plant. Regardless of where you live, you are paying an assessment for the solid waste district and more likely than not, you are also paying for a road district and water district.

How does this all add up, you might ask? A levy is assessed based on the value of your property. This means the size of your home has a direct impact on how much tax you pay.  if you rent a house you are likely paying property taxes each time you send in a rent check. Don’t drive? You are still paying an assessment for a highway district. Don’t read or use the library? Doesn’t matter, you will still be assessed for it. The same goes for cemetery districts, recreation districts and school districts.

How does this have anything to do with me running for the Cassia County Assessor?

Too often a governmental agency lords over taxpayers as if it was king, looking down upon the peasants living in his kingdom. It needs to be just the opposite. As the Cassia County Assessor, I will make sure that we understand that we work for you. Our job is to ensure that you know why your taxes are what they are. If there is a problem I will make sure that it gets corrected.

Before every new or renewing levy is voted on I will publish a newsletter that walks you through the cost of voting yes and possibly the savings you could receive by voting no. No longer will you go to the ballot box uninformed about the impact your vote will have on your family budget.

I will meet with taxpayers in my office or in their homes to go through their individual tax assessments, making them more aware of their individual situation. If their assessment is wrong I will see that it is corrected.

With regard to the vehicle registration hours of operation, I will return to the schedule that worked for decades, being open during the lunch hour and possibly even staying open until 6 p.m. so those taxpayers who can’t get to the Assessor’s office during the day can conduct business with us.

Finally, I will make sure that our team is crossed trained so that when things are busy in one area but are slow in another, employees can help their peers stay caught up. We work for you – we aren’t lords over you. As the Assessor, I will be the first person to be cross trained. I will lead by example.

The Assessor job is a full-time job. As such, I will be a full-time assessor, not a part timer who works a second job. Before I take office as the Assessor I will divest my ownership interest in the Weekly Mailer which will ensure that my full efforts are dedicated to this job alone.

 If you are interested in supporting my campaign for Assessor I would welcome any financial contributions large or small. If you want to help, but don’t have the ability to support my run financially, you can ask for a campaign sign to go in your yard. I would be happy to visit with you by phone or in person, just give me a call 208-670-2311.

I would appreciate your vote on May 17th. Jay@theweeklymailer.com

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