Analyze two selected components of your local assessment agency
Critical Analysis of Assessment Functions
Project 2 requires you to analyze TWO selected components of your local assessment agency (BC ASSESSMENT) and make recommendations on how to optimize these components. Through this evaluation and analysis, you will gain an in-depth understanding of how local assessment agencies carry out their mandate currently and how these procedures could potentially be improved, based on concepts covered in this course. The purpose of this assignment is to provide a practical illustration of how the principles and theories of real property assessment operate in a practical context.
This project offers a practical introduction to some of the issues confronted by real property assessors. Although it requires more effort, examining how assessment functions are carried out in practice is a much more effective learning exercise than simply reading about assessment. You will not be expected to get everything right the first time, but you will learn more than you would just reading about the subject. Hopefully, you can achieve a rewarding balance by both reading and doing. Our intention is to make this project as practically-oriented as possible.
There are two major, implicit learning objectives for this project. After completing this project, you should be able to: 1) logically analyze an assessment/appraisal function, determining what information needs to be gathered and how to gather this information systematically and effectively; and 2) apply your research skills to better understand the assessment function as a whole and become very familiar with several key aspects of assessment that interest you. You are required to gather and analyze information from a variety of external sources. The research for this project will likely include interviews with assessors or appraisers, Internet searches, visits to local assessment offices, and so on.
Your local real property assessment office has hired you as a part of a team of consultants carrying out a review of their assessment practices. The assessment office is questioning all aspects of the way they do their business, right down to their foundations, and they are seeking expert advice on how to optimize their functions. Your role as a part of this team will be to focus on TWO specific aspects of the assessment office’s functions, and write a report on these, analyzing their current effectiveness and making recommendations on how to optimize these functions.
The aspects of the assessment organization that you may wish to write about include:
basis for valuation (e.g., ad valorem taxation or otherwise);
use of mass appraisal;
use of computers, the Internet, and/or technology in general;
use of mapping/GIS;
As a part of your analysis, you should:
Critically evaluate what is currently in place at the assessment office, identifying strengths and weaknesses;
Make recommendations as to what actions you suggest should be implemented to address these weaknesses and emphasize the strengths; and
Make suggestions as to what would be an optimal set-up if you were to start from scratch: i.e., you are working in an environment constrained by what currently exists. How would your recommendations change if you did not have these constraints and could start fresh?
Expectations for Your Report
Please keep in mind that the intent of this assignment is to simulate the type of report that you would actually deliver to someone who is paying you to prepare it. You should assume that your report will be read by someone who has some general real estate knowledge, but who does not have your familiarity with real property assessment. You must write your report specifically to address the information needs of your client.
In order not to overwhelm the reader, the supporting documentation you provide in your appendices should be limited to that which helps you to build your case; in other words, you should not include every single piece of information you find, but only that which you believe is relevant to the reader of the report. A very well-written and organized report could require significantly less than the maximum number of pages and this brevity would be considered a positive point by the reviewer of your report. You will need to exercise some judgement as to what is not relevant and does not need to be included. If you are in doubt, you may wish to contact the course tutor or your fellow students on the course discussion forum in order to discuss what they are doing and get their advice.
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