|By Carley Dangona
West Springfield Town Clerk Otto Frizzell swore in Deputy Assessor Randall Austin.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
WEST SPRINGFIELD Deputy Assessor Randall Austin has been in his position for more than a month, and goes about his work with a spirit of giving back to the community that he grew up in.
"I hit the ground running," Austin said. "This is a whole new ball game due to the increased workload and the more advanced operating system."
He estimated that West Side is five times larger than Dalton, where he served as principal assessor prior to accepting his current position. He added that he was not performing commercial assessments there as he is now.
He said the main challenge is inspecting the thousands of building permits throughout the town. He explained the Internal Revenue Service revaluates the town every three years to verify the assessments are creating accurate and fair tax rates for residents. This year marks such an inspection.
Austin said, "I don't have to make a site visit for all inspections, so I started with these. Now I am [far enough along in the workload] that I am going out and doing site visits as many as I can in a day."
A Montgomery resident, Austin was raised in West Springfield and knows many of the families in town. He cited the shortened commute and increased hours as reasons for the change.
Mayor Gregory Neffinger said, "Austin had been working as a data collector for the Assessor's office. His familiarity with the town is a great benefit for us."
When asked what his favorite aspect of the work is, he responded, "the whole job."
Prior to assessing, Austin worked as a credit counselor before he was laid off in 2011. When an opportunity arose to enter his current field, he welcomed the chance because he viewed it [and still does] as a way of giving back to the community.
He explained that his background in customer service helps him today. "I'm determining how much tax people will pay that's a sensitive topic," he stated. Austin said that he borrows a skill from postal carriers because he carries around a bag of dog treats for his in-person assessments.
"I'm becoming more well-rounded," Austin said. "I like it here. There's a lot to do, but it goes by quickly."
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