East Baton Rouge Parish Assessor Brian Wilson, a Republican, secured a fifth four-year term Saturday evening. He staved off a challenge from Democrat Jonathan Holloway.
During the campaign, Wilson said if we was re-elected he would continue his fair approach in assessing property values for taxpayers and maintain his office's mantra of being accessible to everyone in the parish.
Wilson, who was first elected in 2002, said his biggest challenge in office thus far revolved around the 2016 floods when he and his team took on the task of tagging all the properties that flooded — which he said involved a coordinated effort between the city-parish and federal agencies.
He said his office reduced assessments for more than 40,000 properties to give relief to those taxpayers who were struggling to rebuild.
"Anytime the Governor declares a state of emergency we have the opportunity to go in and give taxpayers some relief," Wilson said last month. "I flooded myself, so I understood the need."
Wilson faced criticisms from his opponent Jonathan Holloway, an attorney who once served as the general counsel for the state's Licensing Board for Contractors, over the office's technological capacities. He said he would create a committee tasked with implementing an "updated blockchain, smart industry, data mining network."
Holloway said technology and the modernization of office protocols will ensure assessments are done right the first time, data mining is a key element to predict future property valuations, and his "smart industry" approach would help centralize operations at the Assessor's Office.
"I want to take the direction of the East Baton Rouge Assessor's Office into an innovative 21st Century digital platform," he said during the campaign.
Holloway first ran for public office in 2011 as a candidate for the newly created state House District 101 seat, which Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, secured.
Wilson countered Holloway's critiques by arguing the office had already upgraded much of its technology, adding that they had purchased software that two-thirds of the assessors across the state use.
That software includes an online digital mapping system that allows anyone to search on the Assessor Office's website for properties or lots to check ownership, dimensions and property values.
"We also have two branch offices in the parish to better serve the public," Wilson said last month. "I want to always continue to pursue the latest technology that becomes available while keeping the office on solid financial ground."
EDUCATION: Attended LSU
PROFESSIONAL:12 years deputy assessor; 17 years as parish assessor
POLITICAL CAREER: parish assessor 2002 to present