CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish got a new assessor Tuesday when Jeff Gardner officially took office to succeed H.T. “Bubby” Jackson, who retired after serving 16 years.
Gardner, 47, was elected in 2011, but Louisiana parish assessors’ terms begin more than a year after they are elected, according to state law.
He has been working in the Assessor’s Office since 1999 and became chief deputy assessor in August 2004.
Elsewhere in the parish, four-year terms began Tuesday for new Clinton Mayor Lori Ann Bell and the town’s five-member Board of Aldermen.
Fred G. Dunn, an East Feliciana sheriff’s deputy, took the oath of office Wednesday as Clinton’s chief of police, but Eddie Stewart, who has held the post under outgoing Mayor Don Reason, said Bell had not told him he was being replaced.
The mayor and Board of Aldermen are scheduled to meet Wednesday.
“As far as I know, I’ll work until at least Wednesday,” Stewart said Friday.
Bell did not return a phone call for comment Friday.
Douglas Beauchamp was commissioned again as Clinton’s fire chief.
Board members elected in October are Johnny Beauchamp, George Kilbourne, Clovis L. Matthews Sr., Lisa Davis Washington and Kim Wilson Young.
Marilyn Goff also took the oath of office as the temporary justice of the peace in District 3, replacing Dewey DeLee, who retired. The Police Jury appointed Goff to the post, but she is prohibited by law from running for the remainder of DeLee’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014.
The state constitution requires assessors to determine the fair market value of all property subject to taxation, except for those properties that are valued by the Louisiana Tax Commission.
Gardner expressed his appreciation for Jackson’s guidance.
“I’m starting my 14th year in this office, and he’s helped from the start. Everything I know is a direct result of him,” Gardner said.
Gardner said his office will expand its mapping capabilities, using patented aerial imagery that will enable employees to view three-dimensional views of property and structures.
He said he plans to upgrade the software the office now uses and add computer-assisted mass appraisal programming to help in determining the value of improvements, such as homes or businesses.
Gardner said his employees also will take on more community service projects during his term.
He said employees began assisting with a Christmas toy drive for the Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital after his 2011 election, and they delivered more than 500 presents to the clinic in December.
In West Feliciana Parish, incumbent Assessor Randy Ritchie also began a new four-year term Tuesday.