La Paz County Assessor Anna Camacho was the only county department head to make a major presentation at a Board of Supervisors’ budget work session June 10. Camacho said she needed more personnel, higher wages for the employees, and better use of technology for her office to properly do its job.
As an example, Camacho said the Arizona Department of Revenue recommends a county the size of La Paz should have a minimum of eight employees: seven appraisers and one full-time clerk. She said they currently have five employees, which is an improvement over when she entered office, when they only had three. She said the office has only one Appraiser certified by the Department of Revenue.
Camacho said being understaffed creates a stressful work environment and excessive workloads. She added it may result in errors. The stressful conditions lead to a high turnover in employees.
As for salaries, Camacho provided figures that show a starting appraiser in La Paz County will receive $29,515 per year. In Graham County, that figure is $31,954. In Mohave County, it’s $35,924 and it’s $33,114 in Yuma County.
The low wages are one reason why her office is not seeing qualified candidates apply for positions when they are open, Camacho said.
“I’d like to see the starting salary at least at the level of Yuma County,” she said. “We also need job fairs so we can find qualified recruits.”
One new technology Camacho said the county needs to use is Pictometry, which uses overflights by aircraft to help find improvements to properties and other items that could be appraised for property taxes. She said Mohave County has used it since 2018, and they have located and identified $46 million in full cash value improvements and $16 million in limited cash value improvements.
Thanks to Pictometry, Camacho said Mohave County appraisers were worked 3.9 times the number of parcels they worked in 2017.
Camacho told the Supervisors that three flights from Pictometry would cost $337,854, which could be paid with annual payments of $37,000 for nine years.
District 3 Supervisor Holly Irwin asked about a project to inventory the wells in La Paz County so they may be included on the tax rolls. Camacho replied the money had been set aside for the project, but they didn’t have enough certified appraisers to do the work.
“Are those wells on the tax rolls?” Irwin asked.
“No,” Camacho replied. “We had turnover and we didn’t have certified appraisers.”
Camacho said the solution for the coming fiscal year was to increase the number of employees at the Assessor’s Office, increase the salaries to the level of Yuma County, increase training and payment for training, and use Pictometry.
Her office has been steadily updating its mapping and database, Camacho said. She noted 911 depends on the Assessor’s site addressing as being reliable for emergency dispatch. She added that many government entities and the public use their database for information about the county.
The new fiscal year begins July 1.