October 1, 2015

Thomson Reuters Names Okanogan County, Washington Jurisdiction of the Year

County Assesses $30 Million of Structural Loss in Wake of Wildfire to Ensure Citizens Don’t Overpay for Lost Structures

CARROLLTON, TX — The Tax and Accounting business of Thomson Reuters announced today that it has selected Okanogan County, Washington as the 2015 Jurisdiction of the Year.

The award, which is the most prestigious of the Thomson Reuters Public Sector Champion Awards, was presented to Scott Furman, Okanogan Assessor on September 30th.  Public Sector Champion Awards recognize government jurisdictions and officials that have achieved excellence in planning, leadership, and service.

The Okanogan County Assessor’s Office was selected to receive the Public Sector Champion award from nomination entries received from among more than 1,000 Thomson Reuters government customers worldwide based on their department’s outstanding efforts to adjust property values following a natural disaster in their community.  Okanogan County experienced the largest wildfire in state history to that point in July 2014, affecting over 250,000 acres of public and private land and creating extensive property damage.   

Within one week of the fire, employees of the Okanogan County Assessor’s Office developed a process to adjust both structure and property value loss for the 260 single family residences and over 250 various outbuildings destroyed by the fire. The rapid response by the Okanogan County Assessor’s Office generated over 3,800 tax roll corrections that were promptly sent to the county treasurer before second half taxes were due. Structure loss exceeded $30 million in assessed value, and county officials’ quick work in assessing the damage prevented citizens from paying taxes on structures and property that were lost or damaged in the disaster.

“The efforts of the Okanogan County Assessor’s Office in the immediate aftermath of the wild fire were nothing short of heroic,” said Joe Jackson, managing director of the Government business for Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting. “The citizens of Okanogan County had already gone through so much that property taxes were the furthest thing from their minds. The quick work of assessors gave the county’s taxpayers a much-needed reprieve, while ensuring all public records were kept current.”

The Public Sector Champion Awards were presented to government programs and officials in the following categories: Excellence in Business Process Transformation, Excellence in Office Leadership, and Excellence in Constituent Service.

“I’m very humbled to receive this award, particularly on the back of our office’s efforts during what has been some very trying times for our community,” said Furman. “With the help of Thomson Reuters solutions, we were able to bring some semblance of relief and stability to our taxpayers in a very tumultuous time, and that is something that we’re extremely glad to provide.”

Other notable winners at the Public Section Champion Awards included:

  • Office Holder of the Year: Maria Walls, Treasurer, Beaufort County, South Carolina
  • Excellence in Business Transformation: Tajel Shah, City and County of San Francisco, California Treasurer; Robin Ward, Hamilton County, Indiana Assessor
  • Excellence in Office Leadership: Jill Amery, Wasco County, Oregon Assessor/Tax Collector; and Brent Shelton, Sedgwick County, Kansas Tax Department
  • Excellence in Constituent Service: Casey Kaul, Pierce County, Washington Auditor's Office; and Robert Maki and Jess Richards of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

To learn more information about Public Sector Champion Awards, visit tax.thomsonreuters.com/publicsectorchamps 

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