Calaveras County Assessor Leslie Davis disagrees strongly with a finding by the county’s Grand Jury late last week that her error cost the county $500,000.
The report was off by, according to Davis, almost $500,000.
The Grand Jury report released Thursday found that Davis’ office waived or failed to apply tax penalties in 2010 and 2011, costing the county the aforementioned figure.
In a phone interview Friday, Davis said the panel of 18 randomly-selected citizens got their numbers woefully wrong.
Based on an assessment roll of $1,072,346 in 2010, and 0.17 percent of that due to the county, Davis said just $1,822 due to the county went uncollected in 2010.
In 2011, the penalties waived or not applied would have only been pertinent to businesses that spent more than $100,000, Davis said. The amount due to the county that went uncollected was a mere $694.65.
“They are way off on their numbers,” Davis said of the Grand Jury.
Davis said the jury’s calculations apparently confused the difference between assessment rolls, the values of item taxed, and tax rolls, the percentage of those assessments which are taxed and distributed amongst various public entities from the state on down to counties, school districts and special districts such as fire, water and sewer service providers.
On the other hand, Davis concurred with the Grand Jury’s second finding in relation to her office, that a lack of funding during the last two budget cycles led to a lack of support for unsecured property taxes, which meant a $600,000 reduction to school districts in the county and $176,000 in uncollected revenue for county government each of the past two years.
Whether that can be avoided in coming years depends on what county supervisors decide when they approve the final budget, Davis said.
“Part of it’s cost to staffing, part of it’s budget,” she said. “Part of it’s cost to mail, staff to do that and to process the rolls.”
Supervisor Darren Spellman said there has been a conflict between the board and Davis, elected to succeed Grant Metzger in 2010, that has led to bigger problems.
“You can’t have a Board of Supervisors that’s at loggerheads with the county assessor,” Spellman said.
Spellman said he has tried to be consistent with his budget votes the last two years, supporting the assessor’s staff to the point where she can bring in more revenue than her office costs the county.