Debbe King, the new consultant for the Mecklenburg County Assessor's Office, boils down the discussion about revaluation into one simple goal.
“Revaluation is about equity, that everyone is treated fairly and equally when it comes to the value of their home.,” said King from her office inside the Bob Walton Plaza.
It’s a topic King has spent decades professionally managing in Mecklenburg and Union counties. Since taking a clerk’s job in the Mecklenburg County Tax Administrator’s Office in 1972, King has been involved in four Mecklenburg County and one Union County property tax revaluations. During her career, she has worked as a certified assessor, an assessment manager and a tax administrator. She held the last job in Union County from 1996 until her “first” retirement in 2002.
“I keep trying to stay at home with my family, but things keep bringing me back,” she said.
After retiring, King started a property appraisal consulting business. She was managing her company when approached earlier this year to help with Mecklenburg County’s 2011 revaluation review. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners hired her in August and she reports to Assistant County Manager Dena Diorio. King’s scope of work starts in the office where her career began, and includes preparing a project plan for the 2011 revaluation review, which is required by newly passed state legislation. She plans to implement customer service improvements in the Assessor's Office based on recommendations presented by County-hired consultant, Customer Service Solutions.
“I will look at staffing in our office to make sure it’s at the right level," she said. "Is it organized correctly to be efficient and meet the customer’s needs?”
King began August 5 and said the 60 or so Assessor's Office employees have been very welcoming. She adds that they are also committed to making improvements and completing the task at hand.
“We are starting the process to establish trust in the community,” she said. “I really believe that if we focus on customer service and listen to those who have questions, we will do just that.”
To that end, Kings' immediate ideas include establishing a call center to allow customers an open, direct link to revaluation and appeal experts; as well as creating a more dynamic, intuitive website that uncomplicates revaluation and the appeal process. She is already working on a Frequently Asked Questions section to eliminate wait times, and would even like to see staff bios online.
“The public needs to know that folks here are real people who are committed to fairness and equity,” she said. “The quicker we can become a model customer service agency, the easier it will be to establish the trust we need to truly move forward.”