Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. would like to welcome you to our second Online Candidate Forum of the year. This forum is for all declared candidates for Office of Lake County Property Appraiser. This race promises to be one of the most hotly contested, and it pits incumbent Lake County Property Appraiser Ed Havill, who has been in this position for 35 years, against popular former State Senator Carey Baker; a novice politician Pam Lee; and Walter Price, who has over 25 years of experience in actual real estate appraisals.
The forum will be released in three successive daily newsletters, beginning with today’s release. Next week, each candidate will be allowed a newsletter for their closing statement to rebut any remarks made by another candidate, or to simply make their case why they are the best one for the job.
It is very important that you check your email, Facebook, or our website (www.lakecountygov.info) to ensure you don’t miss any part of the forum. Readers will have the ability to make comments about each part of the forum on our website, making it very interactive and interesting.
- This is a true online forum; candidates should answer questions concisely, with their answers no longer than 3-to-4 sentences, or a short paragraph. If a question asks for a “yes” or “no” answer, please answer in that manner.
- Each candidate will be asked the same question, and their answers printed as written. If the answer is longer than our guidelines, we may ask the candidate to edit themselves.
- The forum will take several newsletters, and the questions and responses from all candidates will be printed simultaneously. Answers will be listed alphabetically by the candidate’s last name.
- After we publish all of the questions and responses, we will allow each candidate to have their own The Right Side of the Lake newsletter for closing remarks and rebuttal. It will be unedited, so candidates should proofread their responses closely. If we see a glaring grammatical error, we will notify the candidate.
- If two of the candidates choose to participate, we will conduct the forum, and note that all candidates were given the opportunity to respond.
Carey Baker is a Lake County native and owner of A.W. Peterson Gun Shop in Tavares. He was elected to the Florida House in 2000 and later to the Florida Senate in 2006. Baker is currently a legislative liaison/policy consultant for the Senate President, and he has a 31-year career in the Florida National Guard, which includes a 2003 Iraq tour of duty. Baker currently has the rank of First Sergeant. Baker has been married for 15 years to his wife, Lori, and the couple has three children: Leighton, Caroline, and Reagan.
Ed Havill has been Lake County’s Property Appraiser since 1976, and has lived in Lake County since 1970. Havill is an Army Veteran with an engineering background at Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin, and he later owned a business as a real estate broker and appraiser. Havill has been married to his wife, Donna, for 25 years. Havill has one son, Kyle, and five daughters: Leah, Jennifer, Ashley, Amanda and Katie. Leah passed away in 2006. He also has three grandchildren: Michael, KeriAnne and Matthew. Havill lives in Mount Dora, and touts his ability to get the job done without excessive bureaucracy.
Pam Lee, at the last minute, decided to not participate in the online forum, after telling us in an email, “Thank you for the invitation to participate in your on line forum. What a wonderful service you are providing for the citizens of Lake County. Please allow me to confirm my desire to participate in this forum. I look forward to receiving additional information regarding this sensational opportunity.” After the forum questions were sent to each candidate, Ms. Lee contacted us to let us know she was told by her attorney that she did not have to answer one of the questions, and contacted us later stating that she would be unable to participate because she was going to be out of town. Oddly, during that conversation, Lee relayed to us that she didn’t expect to win because she was “blue collar,” and that she was really running to get under Ed Havill’s skin. The voters will have to make an evaluation on how serious of a candidate Lee actually is for Lake County Property Appraiser.
Walter Price is a real estate broker and appraiser and is the owner of Price Appraisal Group in Tavares. Price has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 35 year, and they have a son and a daughter along with four grandchildren. Price has lived in Tavares for the last 30 years.
Forum Questions and Answers Part 1
Q: Have you ever been convicted of a felony or had to file bankruptcy?
I have never been arrested, nor convicted of any crime. I have never filed bankruptcy. As a member of the United States military, I have gone through extensive background checks and hold a security clearance for the United States Army.
I have never committed any crime. Back in the 1980’s we were experiencing a recession, similar to current times, and due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to file bankruptcy back then. Vowing to never let that unfortunate situation ever happen again, I spent the next several years studying and taking exams and earned my first professional designation, Certified Financial Planner, “CFP”. This knowledge not only helped me to get on track with my financial affairs, as I was able to put both of my children through college and pay for my daughter’s wedding, but also allowed me to counsel others in similar situations.
Q: Please tell us your educational background. What credentials do you have in property appraising?
I graduated from Tavares High School in 1981 and attended Lake County Community College, though I did not receive a degree. I have completed many military schools and received numerous certifications from the United States Army. I have written and worked on the Florida laws and statutes pertaining to property appraisal. For my efforts, I was named by the Florida Association of Property Appraisers as their “Senator of the Year.” I am proud to have 6 currently serving County Property Appraisers endorse me as the most qualified candidate in this race, 4 of those represent our neighboring counties of Polk, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia.
Two Bachelor’s Degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Commercial Science, over 1,000 hours of Appraisal Education, the actual Experience of being the Lake County Property Appraiser for 36 years and a Real Estate Broker/Appraiser. I’m a Certified Florida Appraiser, Senior Certified Professional Appraiser, Professional Florida Appraiser, etc.
I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida State University in 1980, with majors in Real Estate, Risk Management and Marketing. I hold the prestigious MAI commercial and SRA residential designations of the Appraisal Institute. These are the highest professional designations an appraiser can achieve and only 2,000 +/- appraisers in the world have both of them. I just completed my year as President of the East Florida Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, which covers 16 counties in Central Florida. I am a State Certified General Appraiser, and one of a select few appraisers who are members of the VA and FHA appraiser panels. I am also a Florida Real Estate Broker and Lake County Realtor. Recently I completed the Litigation Professional Development Program of the Appraisal Institute.
Q: Have you ever appraised real property, and what work-related experience do you have in that field?
I have appraised my own properties as I have bought and sold real estate in Lake County. I currently own several single family homes and commercial properties. As Senator, I served as Chairman of the General Government Appropriation Committee, which had budget oversight and authority over the Florida Dept of Revenue’s Property Tax Oversight Program. The Property Tax Oversight Program is responsible for the training of County Property Appraisers and Value Adjustment Boards, as well as the auditing of all county property tax rolls in the State of Florida.
I have almost 40 years in Real Property Appraisal and 36 years as the Lake County Property Appraiser, working in the field alongside our Field Appraisers, in appraising Residential, Commercial and Agricultural properties.
I have been actively appraising real estate in Lake and the surrounding counties for 27 years. This experience includes appraising tens of thousands of properties, including residential, commercial, industrial, vacant land, subdivisions and government buildings. My clients have included banks, mortgage companies, attorneys, accountants, developers, Realtors and individuals. I started Price Appraisal Group in 1996 and have had as many as 12 appraisers working for me at one time, so I know how to coordinate the activities of staff, researchers and field appraisers.
Q: If you are running for the office of Lake County Property Appraiser, what change would you make if you are elected? For the current office holder, do you plan on making any changes in the next four years; if so, what are they?
As Property Appraiser, I would immediately work to change the attitude and culture of the office. I believe every citizen is entitled to the best possible customer service and I will set up a system by which property appraisal challenges are thoroughly assessed to resolve any issues before it ends up in court. My goal is to have the most user friendly website in Central Florida and better utilize technology with the goal of eliminating the fleet of cars possessed by our Appraiser’s office. I would like to bring our county mapping department underneath the Appraiser’s office as it is in most counties.
We are constantly updating our IT Systems, and are currently working on the Public’s use of their smart phones to access (from anywhere) our complete files (without compromising confidential information such as social security numbers, getting past our firewall, hacking our working tax roll, etc.). The big benefit of that change would be to allow our field operations to be more efficient by letting the field appraisers access the “working files” from the field thus saving them time. That would further cut down on the taxpayers’ cost per parcel.
I am running for the Lake County Property Appraiser since the citizens of Lake County deserve to have a real professional as their property appraiser. One who understands and has participated in the turbulent real estate market we have been experiencing. I want to bring more accuracy to the factual information reported in the property record cards, as errors abound. It is important for assessment amounts to be more in-line with actual market values, so every citizen is paying taxes based on correct valuations. It is also paramount that the technology of the current property appraiser’s office and website be updated to not only make the website more user friendly and informative, but make the office more cost efficient.
In tomorrow’s The Right Side of the Lake Online Candidate Forum, we ask the candidates if they believe properties are fairly valued in Lake County, plus much more. Please be sure to check your email tomorrow, or our website at www.lakecountygov.info. If you have not signed up for our free email newsletter service be sure to sign up at the website. Also, for no hassle delivery of the newsletter, “Like” The Right Side of the Lake on Facebook.
If you are candidate and would like to participate in this type of innovative forum, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is the goal of Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. to inform its members and readers on the candidates running for local office.
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