Last fall, when I questioned the wasteful use of so much valuable downtown property for surface parking, I figured it had to be way undervalued for tax purposes. Otherwise, owners - many of whom are absentee landlords -- couldn't possibly afford to leave it undeveloped.
The next day, Jefferson County's Property Valuation Administrator John T. May stopped me at Rotary. Not to argue or complain. But to let me know he had just taken over the job, and was just as troubled as I was about the inequitable, out-of-date assessments he'd inherited. He promised to look into it and have results to report by spring.
Well, Mr. May's office recently issued new assessments for nearly half the county's commercial properties. And, true to his word, those for nearly all downtown parking lots increased significantly.
Of course, several of the owners are crying "foul." But there's no question this was long overdue. And if they don't want to pay their fair share, maybe now they will sell these asphalt deserts to someone who'll do something more productive with them.
I think John May deserves a big laurel for tackling a tough job. For quickly promising to correct a problem that was pointed out. And then for having the guts and integrity to follow though.
We could use many more like him.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.