Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 11:27am

Lake County Property Appraiser’s Online Forum

Posted by admin

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.
Forum Guidelines

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. If two of the candidates choose to participate, we will conduct the forum, and note that all candidates were given the opportunity to respond.

Candidate Introductions
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.

Ed Havill


Walter Price

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?

Carey Baker
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.

Ed Havill
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.

Walter Price
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?

Carey Baker
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.

Ed Havill
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.

Walter Price
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?

Carey Baker
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.

Ed Havill
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.

Walter Price
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 lakecountygov@lakecountygov.info.  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.

This year, getting the pro-growth conservative message is more important than ever before.  Please forward The Right Side of the Lake to everyone on your contact list and encourage your friends and family to sign up for this free newsletter by going to www.lakecountgov.info or www.therightsideofthelake.com.

10 Responses to “Lake County Property Appraiser’s Online Forum”

  1. its abundantly clear that carey baker is a typical “whatever it takes” politician. he is in and out of town alot so he has sheriff borders recruited to have his candidate cards signed for him. borders is old news, he is on the way out, whether he wins or not. the baker/borders’ combo reminds me of obama/biden. whatever it takes to win. carey, i am extremely disappointed in you. i was under the impression you were a devout christian and family man. sheriff borders is the complete opposite of the conservative ideals that most of us in lake county stand for. im sick to my stomach, another guy i thought had a chance to make a difference and change the liberal channel that we have been watching the last 4 years., has been lured into borders’ lair. you have children! how could you possibly team up with borders knowing the info that is out there on him. if only ten percent of its true, he should have been kicked out of our county years ago. he has no ties to us, he is not one of us. he is just another opportunist that has preyed on the weak and young. ok, im done with politics. if borders can recruit carey baker, then that means the devil has won over lake county politics. there is a price to pay for selling your soul.

  2. Carey Baker is just another politician trying to continue feeding at the trough. He has no knowledge about appraising real estate and no business sense. Walter Price has very minimal credentials. Reviewed one of his commercial “appraisals” recently and he didn`t even use the income approach—-and yes there was an abundance of rental info. Maybe he was just too lazy to go get them. Check around w/his previous employers and see why he was terminated.
    Ed Havill is a very knowledgeable Property Appraiser and has done Lake County a very creditable job for many years. His employees are responsible and know their jobs. Employee turnover approaches nil. I don`t always agree w/him but have total respect for him.
    Keep Ed Havill as the Lake County Property Appraiser!!

  3. Name says:

    Why is it that the public seems to believe that someone with a bit of elected experience and “limelight” but with no real experience at a job can do it? What appraisal experience does Mr. Baker have? Exactly what did he really accomplish in Tally? What management skills does he really have to cause the office of property appraiser to operate more effectively? Yes, Mr. Havil does have short comings, but to “hire” someone with no real past experience to replace him is not the answer in my humble opinion.

  4. Gee did we somehow forget to provide you with the link to prove all those allegations about the set up tax sale of our taxpayers free house? The evidence is all right here for our fellow taxpayers to see where they were ripped off, attempted to be re-ripped off. and the reverse court action of the attempted ripoff (which cost us another $1050.00) to reverse the rip off of we the people and taxpayers of Lake County; so we would like to provide it again. Hey if you choose not to publish this link we truly understand, it is going viral all over the internet and afer all your hard work you do deserve the breaking news! Thanks!

    Thanks again!

  5. Everyone in Lake County with their head in the Sunshine has heard of the $158,000. FREE HOUSES taxpayers paid for for friends and familiy of the Well Connected! Well – while several are apparently behind in their taxes our Tax Collector aka Lake Godfather set up a tax sale to divert a Lady Lake house right behind the church devastated by the tornado in 2007. Seems the folks got a free house from we the taxpayers and never paid a dime of taxes on it. McKee ordered a title search that conveniently left out our taxpayers $158,000. mortgage (which would have been forgiven if they claimed homestead, paid all the taxes, insured the house and lived in it for 30 years!) and sent it to sale. Convenienlty purchased by his ole friend non other than Mark Saunders.(Remember him; he is the one that ran against Sean Parks!) Bob McKee caught with his hand in the taxpayers cookie jar then spent $1050. of our tax dollars and filed a lawsuit against Neil Kelly, the tax debtor, the new buyer and others to recall the sale.

    It is obvious Bob McKee sis not do this alone! Sandy Minkoff the county attorney should have bee watching the delinquent tax bills on properties we taxpayers hold mortgages on and he should have filed a foreclosure on this home the first year the taxes were not paid! How many more investments do we have in jeopardy because these “public servants” are serving themselves, their friends and their families and bankrupting our government agencies?

    Rememer this is only ONE FREE HOUSE they tried to acquire by theft and deception. We paid for about thirty new ones of them and untold dozens or maybe hundreds of down payments and rehabs! Are the taxes and insurance current on our investments on all of them? Try getting behind in your taxes and see if the “take back man” from the bank don’t foreclose on you immediately; even in Obama Days!

  6. admin says:

    Ms. Lee what is not factual? We stand completely behind everything we wrote because you were the source, and this has nothing to do with any property. We challenge you to specifically say what we factually got wrong? Have the courage to stand behind your words.

  7. Name Pam Lee says:

    The comments made about me by the moderator of this forum are not factual, but what these days is? Perhaps they feel as if I am some sort of threat to their hierarchy to make stuff up about me and publish it on line. I will say this. The moderator of this forum owns a lot of development property in Lake County and therefore must have a lot at stake in this upcoming election. Keep that in mind when you evaluate this forum and the comments made by the moderator.

  8. Name ralph says:

    The RSOL is to be commended for this wonderful service to the community that they are providing.

  9. WOW – Very Good and very informative! I can’t wait to see the results of this one. Mr Havill has a long history as our Property Appraiser but, like a lot of people he has some shortcomings! A lot of that goes to his temper.

    Just wondering why this Lee lady would be consulting her attorney before answering your questions #1 and # 2 why would she be wanting to get under Ed’s skin? One would think he is well past the age of another Pamela Barnes episode where he just wanted to “shut up that woman!”

    Also. we know someone who is thinking strong about running against the incumbant Tax Collector Bob McKee as well. We certainly hope they can get an opportunity to be on the online forum as well. That should really be informative.

    Who knows, from what we are hearing now MeKee might be like the Lee lady and consult his attorney before answering any questions also!

  10. Name Lindsay says:

    I think Mr. Havil has done a good job, but it is time for a change. The only one of the other candidates that has the managerial experience to do this is Cary Baker. This position isn’t about just appraisals, but about running a large department with a lot of employees. Bakers experience and management skills would serve the citizens well. Mr. Havil has been somewhat controversial during his term and is as I understand, poor health. We need the stability of a younger person to start a long career of service to Lake County. Hopefully the economy will be turning around after the upcoming elections and Lake County needs to be poised to take advantage of this. Cary Baker as a long time small businessman and legislator gives him a unique perspective that will help this process along. I wish Mr. Havil a great retirement and hope he realizes that the time for him to leave is now.

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