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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Office sought: Grafton Township Assessor (4-year Term)
Family: Michaelene George with Sasha, Klondike, Igloo, Mickie and Benji the Rescue Dogs
Occupation:Real property and business valuation expert
BS, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University and MBA, Michigan State University
Civic involvement: Pro bono consultant for Samoyed dog rescue and educational organizations
Elected offices held: None.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Reducing appeals to zero by the end of my second term. The assessment and appeal process is broken and stacked against taxpayers: either accept the assessment or fight a time-intensive, costly and uphill battle on a steep, slippery and unfamiliar slope.
Key Issue 2
Championing a fair appeal system. For example, if the property owner appeals, the court finds in his/her favor and the assessment was off by 15% or more, the taxpayer is reimbursed for their legal fees. This is one of my many efforts to level the playing field.
Key Issue 3
Becoming USPAP-compliant by the end of my first term. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is a set of rules to which all appraisers must adhere. They guarantee accurate, credible and fair appraisals. Standard 6 deals with mass appraisals (assessment) and my intent is to make Grafton Township compliant and a standard-bearer for other townships.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
I believe the role of assessor should be apolitical with its sole focus being timely and accurate assessments of private property within the township. By providing an accurate Equalized Assessed Value (EAV), taxpayers will be finally be able to see their true tax rate and act accordingly.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
The assessment function should remain local because one requirement for accurate valuations is an in-depth familiarity with the properties and their related market values.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Efficient service to the township's residents, especially those in (dire) need.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
One of my first priorities when elected will be to review the assessor office's budget and reduce where possible. My entrepreneurial background made me adept at squeezing dimes out of pennies. I'll leverage that, plus my tireless work ethic, to the benefit of Grafton Township.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
My education was polished with 40 years working for others and myself in Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial startups/turnarounds. The last 11 years focused on business and real property valuation equipping me to serve as assessor.
That broad experience is complemented by holding certified appraiser status in two states and being VA and FHA authorized.
With those national certifications to appraise (not just assess) real property, I'm best qualified to determine a property's true value.
My education and experience will make sure the number appearing on Grafton property owners' tax bills is as close as possible to its fair cash value.
They'll sleep more soundly knowing they're paying only their fair share.