Thursday, March 24, 2011

Solano County Assessor's Office undergoes review by grand jury

By Melissa Murphy / The Reporter
Posted: 03/24/2011 01:04:15 AM PDT

The Solano County grand jury has issued its first report for the current fiscal term.

The grand jury reviewed the Solano County Assessor's Office and the processing of assessing declining property values. The full report is available online at

The assessor's office is responsible for maintaining a roster of assessed property values in the county which has to be updated annually.

"Budget constraints and decreased property tax revenues due to declining property values resulted in the assessor's office use of technology to assure equitable property tax assessments," the grand jury said.

According to staff, approximate revenue to the county's general fund for 2010 is $75.2 million, down from $78.1 million in 2009 and $86.6 million in 2008.

Property values will increase again and when that happens, the Assessor's office will require adequate staffing and technology to handle the projected increase in Assessment Review Requests and Assessment Appeals, according to the grand jury.

Therefore, the grand jury recommends that when the property values begin to rise, adequate staffing and technology should be added to handle the increase.

The grand jury added that it commends the assessor's office for its utilization of technology resulting in savings to the county of an estimated $1 million annually. Computer software automatically monitors all property values in the county so that the
county can continue to meet legal requirements and save money.

In order for the grand jury to come to this conclusion, it interviewed staff of the Solano County Assessor's Office, reviewed its website and reviewed applicable laws -- Propositions 13 and 8.

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