In the race for Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, it’s a matter of experience over politics.
Palm Beach County Chief Deputy Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks faces Shelley Vana, a term-limited Palm Beach County commissioner and former state lawmaker, in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.
The winner takes over from veteran Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits, who is stepping down after 24 years.
“The important thing is that the public is served by having a professional in this role,” Jacks told BizPac Review. “We have a lot of growth on the horizon for Palm Beach County in the western part of the county. We need continuity to make sure this growth is handled correctly.”
About 15,000 new housing units are expected to be added to the rolls in Palm Beach County, and many will be for permanent residents who will be seeking homestead exemption.
As chief deputy in the Property Appraiser office, Jacks conceived and designed the Property Appraisers Public Access system to give easy access to property assessment and tax information. She also recently created and launched a mobile app for the website for mobile users.
“Our website — PAPA — is visited by 100,000 people a month, from people shopping for a home, people who are interested in how their neighborhood is fairing in the marketplace, to businesses like title companies, mortgage and insurance companies, and even the trades — plumbers and builders who will need permits,” she said. “We know people are doing more things on their mobile devices, and now we are getting 90,000 to 100,000 hits a month on the mobile site. It shows how important it was for our community to have mobile access to our data.”
She stressed the importance of accessibility and stability in the system “so the public can get (to the data) whenever they need it.”
Jacks has been winning praise from across the spectrum, from media to fellow public officials, including Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon and more than a dozen property appraisers across Florida, among others.
Those endorsements, she said, mean “the community understands this is a professional roll and I am the professional for it.
In its endorsement of Jacks, the editorial board of the Sun Sentinel newspaper said that under Nikolits and Jacks, “fairness rules” in the property appraisers office.
“As Jacks sees it, the race comes down to ‘a professional versus a politician.’ The Sun-Sentinel strongly recommends that professional, Dorothy Jacks, for Palm Beach County Property Appraiser.”
And Jacks’ professional experience goes well beyond her 27 years working in the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser office.
Jacks is vice president of the International Association of Assessing Officers. She will be president-elect in 2017 and president in 2018. She has been a board member and chair of the International Committee of IAAO, and is a past president and former board member of the IAAO’s Florida chapter.
“This gives me incredible access into the assessment world, nationally and internationally,” Jacks said. “It gives me access to assessors all over the country, and takes Palm Beach County out into those areas. I will serve as an ambassador for the organization and it allows Palm Beach County to be featured across the globe.”
She is a certified Florida evaluator and an assessment administration specialist with more than two decades of experience in property appraisal and assessment administration.
In addition to the Sun Sentinel, Jacks has won the endorsements of the Palm Beach Post, the Treasure Coast AFL-CIO, Palm Beach County Human Rights County, the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches.
Jacks is a University of Florida graduate who lives in West Palm Beach with her husband Britt.
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