Maupin begins fourth term as assessor

By Dave Faries, Editor
Posted 9/10/21

For the swearing in ceremony to begin her fourth term in office, Audrain County assessor Melissa Maupin brought her father's Bible.

"I thought it appropriate to have him with me," she said.

The …

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Maupin begins fourth term as assessor

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For the swearing in ceremony to begin her fourth term in office, Audrain County assessor Melissa Maupin brought her father's Bible.

"I thought it appropriate to have him with me," she said.

The Bible shows signs of being well read – worn, with an uncertain cover, a family heirloom. It served nicely for the oath.

But Maupin refers to the state's book of statutes and other legal documents as her work bible. Everything done by Maupin and her staff is regulated and monitored by the state's Tax Commission.

Because property taxes levied on residents of Audrain County begin with the assessor's office, one could easily assume Maupin is the most intimidating – perhaps even feared – official.

"My husband laughs about it," she observed. "In January when assessments are made and people can say 'look how much I own,' everybody loves me. In December everybody hates me."

Property taxes are due on December 31. By then residents have had many weeks to stew over their bill.

Sometimes the role of assessor can seem like a thankless one. And Maupin admits it is stressful at times.

"But," she added, "it is also a rewarding job." The county and its services to residents depends on her office.

Assessing the value of real estate, cars, trailers, boats and other property is science buffeted by whims of the market.

"We have guidelines, but we have to watch the market," Maupin explained. "We see how much it fluctuates. If it goes up and stays up, we have to readjust."

Yet assessments follow fixed equations. Residential property is assessed at 19 percent of market value. Farms and ranches are judged at 12 percent of production value, although grain files in at half of a percent.

Classic cars and personal aircraft have one rate. Farm machinery and livestock another. There are a lot of numbers involved – more than 60,000 buildings fill the real estate roll, and the office counts more than 165,000 personal property items.

Just six people must handle all of this information.

In addition to Maupin, Regina Gish serves as chief deputy, Aaron Henderson is the appraiser ("I get to meet the public," he said with a smile), Lori Test is real estate clerk while Tina Brown and Janet Strait are clerks overseeing personal property.

The office is jammed with files and paperwork, so much that Maupin says she would hate to count it all.

Of course, counting is what they do. New construction adds to the value of a property. Depreciation occurs with age. They must keep up with the real estate market, hot or cold. The state requires assessors to price land within 5 percent of the current market value.

Once the state completes its calculations, it's on to the collector's office.

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