The La Paz County Board of Supervisors approved a new fee schedule for the Assessor’s Office for combining or splitting parcels at their Jan. 6 meeting. This led to a discussion as to where the process for combing or splitting parcels should begin, in the Assessor’s Office or in Community Development.
The new fee schedule is $60 for each new parcel created for under five parcels, $55 for each new parcel created for five to nine parcels, and $50 for each new parcel created with 10 or more parcels.
Deputy County Assessor Kimmy Olsen spoke to the board and said they would not charge any money unless and until the parcel combinations or splits are approved.
As for the process of combining or splitting parcels, Olsen said the process should begin with the Assessor’s Office, which is where it had been for years. For some reason, she said the process in La Paz County starts now in Community Development.
Olsen said the Assessor’s Office is better equipped to handle the combining and splitting process because they handle parcels all the time.
“Parcels are what we do,” she said.
Olsen said Community Development handles such matters as access, zoning and building permits. She said she’s on the County Recorder’s website every day, and she often sees items regarding combining or splitting parcels that have been recorded that need more items before the Assessor’s Office can make the parcel combination or split.
Among the items that may be needed before a combination or split can be made are a legal description of the property and a survey map showing the parcels to be affected. They also need to have all their property taxes paid.
The recent case of Alliance Metals shows what can happen when the Assessor’s Office is not involved in the initial part of combining or splitting parcels, Olsen said. they had met all the requirements of Community Development, and these were recorded. However, they hadn’t done the things needed by the Assessor’s Office. She said she had to contact them to let them know what more they needed to do.
“The steps to be done need to be done before anything is recorded,” Olsen said.
Olsen said the Assessor’s Office asked the County Attorney’s Office about how they would go about getting permission to start the parcel combining or splitting process in their office. She said they were told they wouldn’t need permission as state law says this is something they can do.
County District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson said he understood starting the process of combining and splitting parcels was not a statuary responsibility of the Assessor.
“I understand it could be whoever is designated by the county,” he said.
Wilson said fees are supposed to be based on actual costs, and he saw no data on actual costs in what the Assessor’s Office presented.
District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor said he had been listening to his constituents, and said the county needed a simple process to get the job done.
“The process isn’t working,” he said. “I hope we can fix it.”
The Supervisors approved the new fee schedule, and Olsen said they would be taking over starting the process of combinations and splits from Community Development.