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Town Assessor's Office Becoming More High Tech

The new town assessor is working hard on an online mapping tool that will save time and money for residents and public safety departments.

 

Christopher Wilcock has only been the Town Assessor since February, and he has already been working diligently on assessments, revaluations and a new online Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping tool.

The Assessor’s Office is responsible for revaluating properties yearly, as well as the once every three years State property certification audit. There are 11,600 parcels in the town, Wilcock said. The office also administers the motor vehicle excise tax and does house inspections and appraisals. Joanne Foley is the Assistant Assessor.

Wakefield resident Wilcock, 32, replaced long-time Assessor Jay Kelley who retired. Wilcock has worked in the field for 11 years, 4 as Assistant Assessor in Salem, MA, then seven years as Assistant Assessor in Weston before coming here.

Growing up in Salem, he said he was interested in computers and construction. It was that interest that helped him land the position as Assistant Assessor there. Describing it as an informal apprentice program, he said he was able to learn the operation and duties of the office. “I literally fell into it,” he explained.

Wilcock is certified with the State Assessors Board and has his appraiser’s license. In addition to his day job, he currently serves on the Wakefield Board of Assessors and the Middlesex Assessors Associate Board, both volunteer positions. 

“My goal here is to provide the highest level of service, while saving time and money, he explained.

He said the GIS mapping tool will be useful for residents, fire, police departments and town offices. Wilcock described the project as his “niche.”

“It will be a joint tax assessors database, with attributes of the town,” he explained. Although some information will be private, potential home buyers will be able to easily access valuations, photos and other details.

Wilcock said they are still testing the site in-house with all the departments, but hopes to have a public site within a couple of months.

Transparancy, he believes, is a better experience for taxpayers, and that also applies to assessments. 

“If a taxpayers is not happy with an assessment, I would start by explaining the assessment process to the property owner and how we come up with the assessed value. I might suggest a  property inspection to verify assessment data. And if they are still not happy with the assessment I would explain the process for appealing the assessment.”

When on a day off, Wilcock said he enjoys spending time with his wife Catie and his five month old daughter Isabella. He also enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, snowmobiling, downhill skiing and bow hunting.

Wilcock is working toward a business degree, with a minor in technology in a joint program through Umass Lowell and Middlesex Community College.

The Assessor’s Office is located in the Town Hall Annex and is open Monday-Friday,7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is 978-640-4330 or check out the website

mike t August 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Must be nice to "fall into a town job". Wakefield is really corrupt on their assessments. They went through a town wide walk through reassessment of every property just prior to the economy crash so they could jack up property assessments for an increase in tax revenue. Now houses in Wakefield are way over assessed for the market conditions and selling way below assessed values. Chris, you want to win the hearts of Tewksbury residents. Put some "real world" assessments for current market conditions into effect. People are hurting and house values are down and will stay down for a long time to come. We should not have to pay for value that isn't there. You may also want to suggest Wakefield to do the same.
Tewksbury2001 August 08, 2012 at 03:41 PM
It didn't say he worked in Wakefield. How is your comment relevant?
Steevo August 08, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Well if you take Wakefield as an example then his comment may indeed be relevant. Very. One should compare their own property assessment and percentage of tax pre-crash when home values were at their highest, with the percentage of tax paid now at current property value. Nationwide it's a problem with the home owner getting the shaft.
Tom B August 08, 2012 at 08:02 PM
You did say that he serves on the Wakefield Board of Assessors. So therefore he does in fact work in Wakefield and would be in some way involved with the valuation of properties in that town.
TimW August 09, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Since prop 2 1/2, the assessed value has very little meaning.

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