The Grand Jury
reviewed recommendations made by the State Board of Equalization (BOE)
and prior grand juries to determine if the San Mateo County Assessor was
actively pursuing the recommendations. The Grand Jury found that some
recommendations have not been implemented
the San Mateo County Assessor implemented revenue enhancement recommendations
of the State Board of Equalization and Grand Jury?
The Board of Equalization
(BOE) oversees the assessment practices of the State’s 58 county
assessors, who are charged with establishing values for approximately
12 million properties each year and ensuring that county property tax
assessment practices are equal and uniform throughout the state. The BOE
periodically conducts an Assessment Practices Survey to ensure the uniformity
of assessment practices. In addition, the State-County Property Tax Administration
Program has annually made funds available to the counties to improve property
tax administration. During FY 2001-2002, San Mateo County has participated
in this program, obtaining a forgivable loan of $2,200,000. These funds
may not be used to supplant existing funding.
made as a result of an Assessment Practices Survey frequently relate to
the enhancement of existing revenues or generation of new revenues. The
Grand Jury chose to investigate if the San Mateo County Assessor is vigorously
implementing BOE recommendations.
In 1994 and 1999, the BOE conducted an Assessment Practices Survey of
San Mateo County. The 1999 Survey results, issued in March 2001, made
26 recommendations, including 10 carried over from the 1994 survey that
had not been implemented.
The Grand Jury reviewed the BOE report issued in March 2001 and interviewed
principal officers of the Assessor’s Office. Only those recommendations
that the Grand Jury viewed as having revenue potential were discussed.
The Grand Jury also inquired about other matters that it felt might enhance
revenues from property taxes. The Grand Jury did not attempt to verify
the information provided.
The 2001-2002 Grand Jury made recommendations related to the length of
time taken to process real property change of ownership records. The current
Grand Jury reviewed the progress toward implementation of these recommendations.
Assessor has implemented some, but not all, of the BOE’s recommendations.
Appendix A contains a list of the recommendations that have not been implemented.
has improved the time lag for re-appraisal of residential and commercial/industrial/multi-family
units since the recommendations made in the 2001-2002 Grand Jury report.
The Assessor’s office has participated in the State-County Property
Tax Administration Program. According to the BOE’s 2001 report the
County met the requirements to satisfy the loan forgiveness provisions
of the Program.
The current grand jury found that the Assessor’s office does not
cross check business licensees or sales tax permit holders to determine
if holders of these licenses or permits are required to and have filed
personal property tax statements. By performing such a cross check, the
Assessor's office might discover businesses that have not been assessed
The Assessor’s office should prioritize its workload to address
revenue enhancement opportunities.
The Assessor’s office should immediately:
Review and estimate the revenue potential of each BOE recommendation
shown in Appendix
Estimate the cost of implementation for each BOE recommendation
Identify any additional personnel and resources necessary to implement
any recommendation that will return a positive cash flow to the
county, and report their findings to the County Manager.
The County Manager should, within thirty days following completion
of recommendation 2, review the Assessor’s report and allocate
any additional personnel and resources necessary to implement BOE’s
The Assessor’s office should list its actions to implement
the above recommendations in its annual report and in the Outcome
Based Management statements of the County budget.
The Assessor’s office should immediately begin, and continue,
to cross check business licensees and sales tax permit holders to
determine if these license or permit holders have filed the required
personal property tax statements.