In their first month of work for the county, three of the newly elected council members encouraged citizens to try to clog up the system by appealing their assessments. Perhaps this is too kind. Councilman Don Mason admitted quite bluntly: "We don't call it an appeal. We call it a protest."
OK, residents are angry. But the call to action by Mason, William Howard and Doug Riley focuses community rage on the wrong target -- or, more accurately, deflects it from where it ought to be focused -- on the council members themselves.
While homeowners' assessments rose an admittedly mind-boggling 34 percent over three years, two things need to be remembered. First, the actual resale value of these properties rose as well. More important, the assessment increase is not alone to blame for escalating tax bills. The other parts of the property tax formula are within the control of the council. These are the tax rate and the cap on taxable assessment increases.