Campisi not giving up on elected assessor
July 06, 2005 - County Council Chairman John Campisi, R-south county, says he's not giving up despite the council's rejection of his proposal to make the county assessor's position an elected post rather than an appointed one.
The County Council voted 4-3 last month to reject Campisi's proposal with Council-man Skip Mange, R-Town and Country, breaking party ranks to cast the deciding vote against the proposal.
Besides Mange, Democrats Mike O'Mara of north county, Hazel Erby of University City and Kathleen Burkett of Overland voted against Campisi's proposal.
Besides Campisi, Republicans Kurt Oden-wald of Shrewsbury and Greg Quinn of west county voted in favor of the measure.
"I think I'm going to be bringing that legislation back only because it was very popular in my area and all the council members need to see more of it," Campisi told the Call.
Campisi said one of the main reasons he introduced the ordinance was because of the rising residential assessments in the county, and he wanted the county to have an assessor accountable to the taxpayers.
"I have a lot of elderly people in my area, and my biggest concerns was when was the last time that their income has gone up more than 16 percent? It's unheard of," Campisi said. "We're basically pricing them out of their homes."
At the council meeting, O'Mara said the problems with the assessment process should be referred to the Missouri Legis-lature because the county must follow the regulations approved by state lawmakers.
He said the county is working to stabilize senior citizens' property assessments.
County Executive Charlie Dooley has been working with state legislators to enact measures that would protect senior citizens, according to Mac Scott, Dooley's spokesman.
"That's something the county executive has promised and is not something he is going to forget and that he wants to help the senior citizens who are on a fixed in-come," Scott said.
Scott said an elected assessor would not be able to change the assessments of the county's properties.
"There's a right number and a wrong number, and there isn't any in between there," he said.
During the meeting, Burkett said a weakness in Campisi's ordinance was that it did not outline qualifications needed to run for the assessor's position so that anyone could run for office.
"That was a valid question on the council, and I think it will be part of the next (proposal)," Campisi told the Call.
Campisi said he was disappointed that Mange, the only Republican who voted against the measure, did not support the ordinance.
Mange told the Call that one of the reasons he voted against the measure was he did not want an elected assessor to be influenced by partisan politics.
"I see a lot of politics in the county government as it is, and I don't want the county assessor subjected to that as well," Mange said.
He also said that under County Executive Lawrence Roos' administration 30 years ago, the assessor's position was an elected position and was changed to appointed position.
"That's the way it has been since then, and I think it would be a tremendous step backwards," Mange said.