Assessor’s office fails in its mission

Published 9:34 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

To the editor:

Anyone who has interacted with the City of Suffolk Real Estate Assessor’s Office knows the frustration and dissatisfaction that accompanies the process. Emails go unanswered, phone calls are never returned, and, often times, the only way to get anything done is to argue before the Board of Equalization. Is that how the process should go? The answer is a resounding “NO!”

I’ve been forced into dealing with the Assessor’s Office and their incompetence on behalf of my local church. What should have been a simple process of correcting an error made by their office (and acknowledged over eight months ago) has morphed into a two-year long case study in departmental ineptitude. Not only do they seem to approach every citizen interaction with an adversarial mindset, but getting any type of concession seems like an act of Congress.

Email newsletter signup

I bumped into a prominent local attorney recently, and the topic of the Assessor’s Office came up. He shook his head and agreed that the office, under the leadership of Jean Jackson, is by far the most difficult department in the entire city to do business with. Your publication even reported on the problems within the department back in 2013. It seems that time doesn’t cure all, and the deficiencies that were present have only gotten worse.

For a department whose mission statement is to “provide accurate information to the public all in a courteous, efficient and professional manner,” they seem to be failing on all fronts. Real estate taxes likely represent most residents’ single largest financial interaction with the city. When serving the citizens of Suffolk, providing effective, courteous and efficient service shouldn’t be optional.

William Webb