MIKE CAMPBELL & JANE SMITH (standing) County Office Bldg. 



Two show up to interview for Loudon assessor position



By Hugh G. Willett

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LOUDON The Loudon County Commission met Wednesday to review the qualifications of candidates for the property assessor's position.

The position was vacated by the August death of Chuck Jenkins. The commission will meet Monday to appoint an assessor to fulfill the remainder of Jenkins' term until the election of a new assessor in 2012.

Although at least four candidates had recently expressed interest in the job, only two candidates current deputy assessor Jane Smith and real estate appraiser Mike Campbell showed up for the interviews.

Campbell, a resident of Friendsville, told the commission that he has 20 years of appraisal experience, completing over 2,200 appraisals within the county limits. He also said he holds a certification as a residential real estate appraiser.

Commissioner Bob Franke questioned Campbell about his commercial real estate experience. Campbell explained that his area of expertise is residential appraisals, which are limited to $250,000.

Commissioner David Mears followed up with more questions about industrial and commercial experience, pointing out the county is currently facing a revenue shortfall based on contested appraisals by firms Kimberly-Clark and Tate & Lyle.

Several commissioners expressed concerns related to the pressure of the job. Commissioner Don Miller said he expects the next appraisal cycle to be turbulent.

"There's going to be a lot of unhappy campers," he said.

Campbell agreed that economic conditions could make for a difficult appraisal cycle. He said he would rely on his ability to sit down with residents.

Smith is a lifelong resident of Loudon County with 22 years of experience working in the assessor's office. Smith stressed to commissioners the complexity of the job.

"There are so many facets of the property assessor's job that it takes years to learn," she said.

Mears again raised the question of experience with commercial and industrial appraisals. Smith explained that her experience handling contested appraisals was mostly residential in nature. During the recent cycle she said she handled 35 appeals and won 27 of them.

Smith explained that she would seek the advice of the state Comptrollers' Office when defending the commercial appraisals currently on appeal. She also said she has discussed hiring an expert in commercial appraisals to assist with the appeals process.

Both candidates said that if appointed to fulfill the remainder of Jenkins term they would run for election to the office in 2012.