This editorial was published by the Idaho State Journal of Pocatello.
It’s far from being a win for anyone when the community’s confidence in its leadership is in free fall.
Historically, Bannock County’s likely never before experienced a situation like the current recall effort to oust the county’s assessor and all three county commissioners from office.
Unless something changes, we believe the necessary signatures to put the recalls on the election ballot will be acquired and we can all expect the opportunity to remove these four embattled county officials in November.
No decent person likes to watch while someone drowns in their own missteps and mistakes. That’s why no one is taking any pleasure watching while Bannock County officials experience their own self-inflicted “Waterloo” due to an insanely botched countywide reassessment.
The cancer on our county government this reassessment has become is as much historic for the community outrage it’s inspired as it is downright disturbing and depressing as we watch our county’s leaders flounder.
A community up in arms over leadership it views as at best massively incompetent and at worst downright corrupt is obviously not a pleasant place to be.
We can all agree on that.
Something needs to be done and quickly to right the ship so our county can achieve the relative peace and confidence in its leadership that the state’s 43 other counties are able to achieve.
All of those other counties are able to reassess properties without creating the kind of upheaval that’s tearing our community apart.
Our first bit of advice to the Bannock County Commission is to realize that the county’s attempt to reassess all of the properties in the county so that they match 100 percent of market value has been an absolute failure and staying the course is not an option.
It’s hard to imagine the situation getting any uglier and every effort by the county commission to make things better has had the exact opposite effect, making the countywide reassessment look like more of a sham while significantly eating away at the county commissioners’ credibility.
We have a lot of respect for Commissioners Steve Brown, Terrel “Ned” Tovey and Ernie Moser and we don’t like the fact that this reassessment debacle has put their integrity in perhaps the worst possible light.
But when everything the county commissioners are claiming about the reassessment is seemingly being denied by the Idaho Tax Commission, it’s hard for the community to have any faith or trust in Brown, Tovey and Moser.
We strongly suggest that the county commissioners hit the reset button on the reassessment by pleading for the Idaho Tax Commission’s permission to revert back to 2018’s property assessments for 2019 in Bannock County.
In 2020, the county can conduct a countywide reassessment properly by using Assessor’s Office workers rather than computer programs to assess properties and by holding plenty of public meetings explaining the process beforehand so no one will be caught off guard.
It’s time to raise the white flag regarding this year’s attempted countywide reassessment and we implore the Tax Commission to show Bannock County officials some mercy by agreeing that in order to restore the community’s confidence in its county government, a fresh start is needed.
A fresh start is also needed in the Assessor’s Office.
We have no doubt that newly elected Assessor Sheri Davies is a nice person, but she is clearly in way over her head.
Rather than put our community through a painful recall election and allow this real-life nightmare to continue for her, we would like to see Davies put her community and county government first by resigning her position.
The fact she was rearranging office furniture when the new assessment notices should have been mailed out says it all.
Davies has lost the confidence of those of us who call Bannock County home and her abrupt departure from a recent assessment appeal hearing because things got too emotional for her showed the world that she isn’t even capable of standing behind her own office’s work.
Bannock County’s leaders have themselves to blame for miring our community in this incredibly stressful controversy for no legitimate reason that we can find.
The least these leaders can do is prove to us all that they have the ability to extricate the community from this mess.
If they can’t, then our advice to the voters of Bannock County is simple.
Recall them all.