In The News › Williams sworn in as the city’s sole assessor

Jan 1, 2011

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Taxation & Assessments

Williams sworn in as the city’s sole assessor

Saturday, January 1, 2011
By Wayne Carter, Eyewitness News

In a ceremony centered on the singular, Erroll Williams became the city’s sole assessor.

He says his job is all about numbers — a formula of determining how much your home is worth and how much you’ll owe in taxes.

“I’m trained as an accountant, and the only thing we learn is consistency,” said Williams, “and if you do it the same for everybody then it should come out okay, that’s what our challenge is.

“I already know some neighborhoods. I have to begin to work in some of them in my own neighborhood because the storm created some problems.”

He wouldn’t say which neighborhoods, but says Hurricane Katrina will play a big role, whether houses in the area repaired, demolished or still damaged.

“Transition into a new system is like recreating a city takes a long period of time,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, “so next year will be a period of uncertainty for everybody, and I think Erroll Williams has a great and long history of doing the right thing for the right reason.”

The assessor’s office was one of the only in the country split up into districts, some say creating a breeding ground for backroom deals. But in an era of doing business above board in New Orleans, Errol Williams will be the first to tell you he is your man.

“My dad taught me something simple, and he was very astute on how to work around the political system and that was keep your nose clean. And for those people who don’t know what that means, and I look back and I have nothing that I’m ashamed of that will embarrass me, my family, or myself,” he said.

Despite all the promises of change, some critics wonder if it’s really enough. Some of the members of the new assessor’s team are the same people who’ve been assessing houses in New Orleans for years.

“The part of concern is taking two of the former assessors and putting them as key members of the administration,” said Janet Howard of the Bureau of Governmental Research. “I think that’s where the question of whether it’s too much of the old culture.”

But Howard says we’ve already seen lots of improvements in tax assessment process. “This is definitely a much needed step toward reform, reform is not guaranteed by it but reform would never happen without it.”

And the mayor insists Williams will set the tone for fairness and keep the right income rolling in to move New Orleans into the future.

Jan 1, 2011

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Taxation & Assessments

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