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TAX RELIEF; LOCAL ASSESSOR'S OFFICE MEANS SHORTER TRIPS.

Byline: Cecilia Chan Daily News Staff Writer

For many taxpayers, the anxiety of April 15 has come and gone for another year.

But others still have questions about residential property taxes and business property statements - due May 6.

That's when the makeshift Ventura County Assessor Office's comes in handy.

A one-man station set up a month ago in an office borrowed from 2nd District Supervisor Frank Schillo at the Civic Arts Plaza is helping people fill out complicated government forms and answer questions including those on property taxes, deeds and property transfers.

``Many of our single-family residences and businesses are located in the community of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks,'' said Bob Gregg, a senior assessor. ``We have been getting requests for a couple of years now: If somebody has to deal with us, why do they have to drive all the way up to Ventura?''

So now Gregg takes turns with another senior assessor in working Tuesdays in Thousand Oaks.

Gregg estimated that 40 percent to 45 percent of the assessor's workload comes from the three communities in the east county.

Gregg said Assessor Dan Goodwin plans to open a permanent east valley site by next year.

At this time of year, business owners are concerned with filing a business property statement, and face a 10 percent penalty if they miss the May 6 deadline. Business owners must list all their furnishings such as computers, chairs, tables and equipment so that a taxable value can be determined.

With only about a dozen people so far seeking help in one form or another in the past four weeks, Gregg might seem as lonely as the Maytag repairman.

However, Gregg said foot traffic is comparable to what arrives at the main office's front counter and that he has plenty of work to keep him busy.

``I can do the same work I would be doing in the (Ventura) office when nobody is here,'' he said. ``I have a computer terminal tied into the mainframe so there is very little difference with what I am doing here and what I would be doing in the office on other days working in Ventura.''

Setting up temporary digs for the assessor in his office is just one of many services Schillo said he hopes to bring the east county.

Schillo said in the next two to three months there will be paramedics on the firetrucks in Oak Park and Thousand Oaks, which would cut down on the wait time for medical help. Plans also are in the works to get animal control into Oak Park and to locate branches of the California Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Department, ambulance service and the water district into the Oak Park Community Building to serve that area, he said.

Services that have come into the east county so far include a court kiosk in The Oaks mall where people can pay their tickets, a county clerk facility in front of Schillo's Thousand Oaks office and a one-stop welfare satellite office also located in Schillo's office.

``They are all in my office so I can get people over here at no cost for the department,'' Schillo said. ``And as services expand they will find other space. It's like priming the pump.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO (Color) Robert Gregg assists Ventura County business owners with tax concerns out of Supervisor Frank Schillo's Thousand Oaks office.

Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 28, 1999
Words:573
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