Two candidates vie for recently-vacated assessor’s office
Published 12:02 am Saturday, October 15, 2011
By NICOLE ZEMA
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — As Concordia Parish’s incumbent Tax Assessor Monelle M. Mosely retires, two parish residents are vying for the seat.
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Tax assessors establish a taxable value for all property subject to property taxation, complete an assessment roll showing the assessed values of all property and apply all legal exemptions.
Jerry Clark, chief deputy to Mosely, and newcomer Ryan Paul, will square off on the Oct. 22 ballot.
Clark said his mission is to continue the practice of fair and equitable assessments of property, which requires experience.
Clark has served as Concordia deputy assessor for 34 years, with the past 15 years as chief deputy assessor. Through these years on the job, Clark has qualified as a certified deputy Louisiana assessor and serves as a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
Because of his experience at the tax office, Clark said he is familiar with the duties of the job.
“We actually discover inventory and access all properties in parish for ad Valorem tax purposes,” Clark said.
Clark said all phases of the office’s operations work well to serve the county, and to him, nothing the office is doing show signs of failure.
Clark said he can continue to serve the community well because of his ongoing training and comfort with the latest technology.
“It is also important to advance the technology within the assessor’s office; however, those improvements must be done within budget,” Clark said. “Advancement in technology can and will be achieved by using a sound and reasonable plan, without raising taxes.”
Clark said when it comes down to it, he is the best candidate for the job because of experience and knowledge.
Clark said he and his family are active members First Baptist Church in Vidalia. He is a member of Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the Vidalia Lions Club.
Paul, a fourth generation parish resident and business owner, said he is running for office because he believes in Concordia Parish and believes it can be better.
“The Concordia Parish Assessor’s office combines three of my passions — real estate, helping people and our parish,” Paul said.
Paul said he wants to modernize the operations of the assessor’s office.
“My principals are built upon integrity and perseverance to bring the office to new levels with implementation of technology,” Paul said.
Paul said he has real world leadership and real estate experience.
“My experience is real world, 10-plus years of real estate, with an appraiser and broker for four years,” Paul said, who also worked with and experience working hand-in-hand with two assessors’ offices,” Paul said.
Paul is a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers, where he has completed several educational courses.
“Specifically for the office, I have a great deal of experience with the business flow, software and process of each assessment,” Paul said.
Paul said he thinks the current administration has done a fine job with the traditional methods of assessment, but he would like to see a better use of technology.
“I have evaluated other assessors’ offices and you would be surprised at how far behind our local office is in the area of technology,” Paul said. “Offices that have better technology are able to have more objective assessments because of the tools’ ability to consistently and equitably compare properties, track market values and evaluate hundreds of property attributes.”