Wyoming County Assessor Mike Cook told county commissioners Wednesday that his office has experienced some problems with residents concerning staff visits to their property.
“State codes requires that we visit each of the 36,000 parcels in the county every three years,” Cook told commissioners.
“The data collector will visit the property and record any additional structures or any structures that have been removed.
“We determine the appraised value of your property based on this information and condition of the property,” Cook emphasized.
“Also, we should note that a photo of the property is required and documented for each parcel,” Cook said.
Employees, or data collectors, from the assessor’s office drive a white Ford Explorer, with the county insignia on the front doors, and carry photo identification as part of the ongoing process, Cook noted.
The assessor’s office determines property values only, but neither collects nor sets property tax rates, officials emphasize.
The appraised value is the true market value of the property, as determined by the county assessor based on the onsite visit. It is the amount the owner could expect to be paid for the sale of the property.
Property taxes are calculated from the assessed value (which is 60 percent of the appraised value) using the levy rates set by levying bodies, which include the state Legislature, county boards of education, county commissions, and city/town councils.
Levying bodies are the government entities that have the power to raise and lower property taxes.
In other business, commissioners approved paying two county employees for responding to emergencies involving dogs – such as dog bites or vicious dogs – on the weekend or in the evening.
If the employees respond during regular business hours, there is no extra pay, according to officials.
Commissioners are working to design a plan that will improve the county’s response to dog complaints, Jason Mullins, commission president, explained.
As part of the plan, the commission is working with the county Sheriff’s Department, municipal police departments, and Paw Patrol, a volunteer organization that takes care of dogs until homes can be found.
The groups “have been fantastic,” Mullins emphasized.
The employees responded to three dog bites the previous week, Commissioner Randall Aliff said.
Additionally, commissioners are considering joining 30 other county commissions across the state to improve transparency into county finances through an online website.
Representatives from the state auditor’s office met with the commission Wednesday to explain the process which will allow anyone online access to information concerning the county’s incoming funds and expenses.
The West Virginia Legislature has mandated that all fire departments and boards of education provide the online financial information.
Commissions are currently joining the process on a voluntary basis.
Thus far, 30 county commissions and five municipalities around the state are already online, the representatives told commissioners.
Online access can provide early indications of financial problems, such as embezzling or cash flow problems, according to officials.
The website, wvCheckbook.gov, provides a short guide on how to use the web site.