Soliz files for county assessor seat
Jon Soliz wants to be the Crook County Assessor because he is dissatisfied with the status quo in the office he has worked for the past decade.
"Our community needs a change. Our office needs a change," says the current senior appraiser. "Standing still would be wrong. It is just an opportunity that I have right now for my voice to be heard."
Soliz, who joined the Assessor's Office staff in 2006, explained that he would like to make the office more business-friendly and citizen-centered. During his work as an appraiser under current Assessor Brian Huber, he has heard from some business owners and residents that the office is too rigid and intrusive in its approach.
"I want to try to make it less intrusive and more relational," he said.
Soliz said he has spoken to some people in the community who are left with the belief that the office had its mind made up and would not alter its approach for any reason.
"I think that has always been hard for everyone to take," he said. "You have taken away voice, and I think that voice is important, and I think what we do is a service to the people."
When it comes to flexibility, Soliz acknowledges that the office is bound by state laws.
"We are administrators of the program. Is there a degree of 'This is the way it goes?' Absolutely."
However, he believes the county assessor has some discretion in the way he or she does business and deals with property owners, and some things taking place currently are outside the norm statewide.
"I believe there is some wiggle room from what I understand," he said. "There are some taxation things that we are dealing with right now with some of the businesses, and taxing some of the entities that have not been taxed in a while."
Unlike many county positions, which require no prior experience or training, an assessor candidate must be a registered appraiser or appraiser trainee, and have two years accounting experience or two years employment in the Assessor's Office. They must also be certified by the Oregon Department of Revenue.
Soliz meets those qualifications, having worked as an appraiser in Crook County for the past 11 years. However, he points out that other aspects of his work history have prepared him to serve as county assessor.
As the senior appraiser, he has been involved in the training of other appraisers in the office. And prior to his employment as an appraiser, Soliz spent 25 years in the grocery industry, half of which time he was an assistant produce manager.
"I was used to leading and helping people," he said.
Now, he is hoping to lead and help as county assessor.
"I love the work. I love challenges. I love to learn and grow and discover more," he said. "I want to do more right now."