L.A. County Assessor Wins Pair of Awards

L.A. County Assessor
Jeff Prang
Courtesy Photo

L.A. County Assessor Jeff Prang got a pretty nice assessment himself this past week.

Prang’s office was named by the National Association of Counties (NACo) as winner of two 2019 Achievement Awards for the development of cutting-edge information technology systems.

To enhance accuracy and efficiency, Prang’s IT experts designed and developed the Mobile Assets Tracking System (MATS) and Train Tracks, with the latter being a collaborative effort between assessor staff and students from USC, according to a news release issued by Prang’s office.

“As a public agency, it is imperative that we continually identify potential efficiencies, but we must also ensure we maintain the expertise, which is at the core of our mission to value property in a fair and accurate manner,” Prang said.

“These awards highlight the ability of the dedicated, hard-working professionals of the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office to fulfill both goals. And that, in turn, allows us to better serve the residents and businesses of South Pasadena.”

Prang’s office appraises the value of properties, including those in South Pasadena, and that valuation translates into taxes that result in public services such as police, fire, education and roads. 

As an example, in South Pasadena in 2017, the assessed value of properties — residential, commercial and industrial — was about $4.5 billion. In  2018, it increased to about $4.8 billion which reflects an increase of about $305 million.

Meanwhile, the deployment of MATS in spring 2018 has provided the assessor’s office with a real-time asset inventory mechanism, replacing a paper-based system that risked failing to capture equipment moves across numerous locations. It was developed in-house without assistance from external vendors and has produced significant time savings due to its user-friendly design, mobile capability, real-time reporting, and improved audit compliance, Prang’s office said.

As with MATS, Train Tracks was developed by the assessor’s office. It was first implemented as a pilot in February 2018 to track required education and training for licensed appraisers in order to ensure these experts retain their certification by the state.

This continued education and training is particularly crucial in Los Angeles County, where the number and complexity of properties require that appraisers stay current on appraisal techniques and regulations.

In addition to homes and businesses, the 2.57 million properties across the county comprise complex commercial properties and unique sites such as refineries, stadiums, and theme parks.

Train Tracks now includes over 630 appraisers and saves more than 1,280 personnel hours, translating to an estimated $70,000 in annual cost savings. Furthermore, the system can be adapted for use by other county departments where professionals are required to undergo regular training to remain certified in their respective trades, Prang said.