Supervisors to vote on assessor’s office transfer Dec. 5
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will consider Dec. 5 the approval of transferring the county assessor’s office function back under the watch of the county’s commissioner of revenue.
The Loudoun County Government Reform Commission, a new panel appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and the board’s finance committee have both recommended making the shift.
In the 1980s, the Loudoun County assessor functions were moved from the revenue commissioner’s office to the county’s finance department, where it remained until 2006, when the board created a separate assessor’s office. At that time, the assessor became one of three county employees hired directly by the Board of Supervisors.
Tom Julia, chair of the reform commission, said in September returning the duties to the revenue commissioner makes sense from an efficiency and continuity standpoint.
Current Loudoun County Commissioner of Revenue Bob Wertz, a Republican elected into office, has expressed his willingness to take on the additional duties, which include overseeing the current operations of the county assessor office.
The assessor’s office maintains appraisal and property records for assessment and taxation purposes and manages a countywide system for the maintenance of fair market values and equitable assessments on all types of real property.
During a Board of Supervisors public hearing Nov. 13, liberal activist Jonathan Weintraub voiced concerns that Wertz may find himself in a position prone to favoritism, given that Wertz is also a key fundraiser for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District Republican Committee.
“My concern is maybe there’s some bias,” Weintraub said. “Maybe [Wertz] meets people on the golf course, maybe he meets people at a meeting, they ask for reconsideration of the assessment, and such bias would be so hard to detect.”
Weintraub requested the all-Republican Board of Supervisors mandate Wertz resign from his role with the Republican committee if he’s charged with the assessor’s office functions.
Members of the board did not respond to Weintraub’s comments.
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), chair of the finance committee, has said he believes the county administrator and county attorney are the only positions that should report directly to the board.
If approved, the assessor-revenue commissioner transfer will go into effect in January.
Former Loudoun County Assessor Todd Kaufman was fired in June after a series of closed-door discussions and a questionable placement on administrative leave.
Kaufman has filed a lawsuit against the county for defamation of character.
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