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FLORENCE — To help keep up with builders’ needs in the housing boom, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved three new positions in the Assessor’s Office.

Pinal County Assessor Douglas Wolf told the board it previously approved three new positions in the assessor’s GIS mapping department this summer at budget time, but more are needed.

“The flow of parcels needed to be worked in this county doesn’t seem to be trending down or even flat, it’s still on the accelerating curve,” he said.

Vice Chairman Mike Goodman asked if these new positions would help reduce the current workload and lag time.

“I’d like to say absolutely I’m certain of that, but I can’t,” Wolf replied. “We have some issues with some of our current employees that I can’t discuss in public that inhibit our ability to do some of the things we’d like to do.” He said there’s also a six-month training period before employees begin working directly with parcels.

He said he’ll know by December or January if still more people are needed. “It’s possible because of the number of parcels coming into the county. … But right now, I’d say this is adequate for today, based on the current volume. … I don’t think we can do it any faster or any better at this time,” Wolf said.

He said his original goal was to issue assessor’s parcel numbers, or APNs, in 90 days. “We’re trying to get back to that.” The county’s Information Technology Department has also helped with making preliminary APNs available on the county website.

Wolf said he met with 20 or so small developers about three weeks ago to share how he was planning to help them get their business done.

The large developers with more employees and funding never complain. Smaller developers, however, find themselves in a bind, Wolf said.

He said the Assessor’s Office will also give up its training room, because it’s out of space to put people. With the approval of Wednesday’s request, Wolf will have 11 people, compared to a year ago when he had four working in GIS. The positions approved Wednesday are a new senior GIS cartography specialist and two other GIS cartography specialists.

There appears to be a misunderstanding among the public that the Board of Supervisors hasn’t been helpful enough to the assessor, Goodman said. He said his staff’s research showed the board approved more personnel for the assessor last year. But by December, board members were beginning to receive emails from developers complaining of “a seven-month delay in the process,” and complaints continued into 2021.

Wolf said he’s comfortable with the board’s actions. Some might even say that Wolf has been too conservative about asking for more staff. “I could have come here earlier, I’ll take that on me,” Wolf said.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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