Benton County WA, Assessor releases new tools to help Citizens

Kennewick, WA. 11/26/18

Homeownership is one of life’s great highlights but ask homeowners about paying property tax and they’ll tell you it’s one of their least favorite responsibilities. The property tax is an important part of any well-balanced revenue system for a community. Property taxes fund such things as schools, fire and police protection, streets, libraries, and other public benefits. Typically, the property tax allows these services to be funded in proportion to the amount of money individual properties are worth.

Savvy homeowners and prudent buyers are probably aware of the property tax rates in their area, but they may not understand the factors that can drive their property tax rates up, such as changes of tax rates, additional levies or general increases in market value.

The Benton County Washington Assessor, Bill Spencer, was first elected in 2014 and since then has made major changes to way homeowners are serviced by the Assessor’s Office. Over the last four years Spencer has made good on his original campaign goals of moving to a more uniform and transparent process for valuing property. One of Spencer’s first priorities was to improve efficiencies. He did this by leveraging new technology, including the suite of Appraisal Solutions by Spatialest. The collection process, the reviews, data cleansing and analysis have all improved as a result.

His vision to make resources on the County website more customer-focused and user-friendly is also evident. Solutions are more intuitive and contain related property information to create a ‘one stop shop’ for citizens, reducing their need to access multiple sites. Find your property or review your neighborhood here. His office has initiated many improvements but that process is ongoing, according to Spencer.

Speaking with Bill it’s easy to see he values full transparency and citizen feedback. Spencer commented, “The easier we make it to access and understand the information the more comfortable the Citizens become.” This all means a better service to his customers, delivered at lower costs with full transparency for the residents of Benton County.

A proud father, Spencer’s roots run deep in Benton County. Spencer, a certified Real Estate Appraiser, worked for the Franklin County Assessor’s Office before becoming the owner of Spencer Appraisal Service in 2004. The hands-on experience he gained at both the County and as a small business owner has proved invaluable as he oversees the operations and growth of the busy Benton County Assessor’s Office.

Having made Benton County his home for most of his life Spencer is active in the community and holds memberships in several organizations. He and his wife are very proud of their seven children, and are raising them in the same home Spencer was raised in. The Spencer family enjoys their time together as well as volunteering in the community.
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