A relatively unknown candidate from Watson came onto the scene to challenge the nearly two-decade incumbent for job of determining property value.
Brandon Browning, the aforementioned upstart, of Watson is taking on the 19-year incumbent Jeff Taylor, of Denham Springs.
Both men are republicans.
Taylor is the only Louisiana assessor to ever be twice nominated for the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award, which is one of the top awards presented to agency leaders who have instituted improvements that can serve as models for the overall industry.
During Taylor’s tenure, assessments have reached over 90% in accuracy and collection rate. The 54 year old unveiled the parish’s new mapping system in 2015, the geographic information contained in which allows the assessor’s office to instantly and accurately identify parcels of property throughout the parish through a variety of search options.
Taylor has been a strong advocate for lowering millages and reducing property taxes. He continues to work with parish districts to find ways to save taxpayer dollars. He developed a nationally recognized permit program that allows the parish to update records before utilities are connected to residences or businesses, ensuring assessments are more fair and equitable.
He became one of the first assessors in the state to call for property assessments to be listed on the Internet. He also is a leader in promoting industry education and standards. Taylor has completed the rigorous education requirements to be an international certified assessor and has required that his field deputies pass similar certification classes. He is currently taking courses to be an instructor for the International Association of Assessing Officers.
Taylor is the founding sponsor of Assess the Need, the parish-wide annual school supply program, which for 19 consecutive years has helped provide school supplies for children in need.
Taylor is married to Delia Taylor and graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachlor of Science degree in marketing and management.
Browning is a 17-year veteran law enforcement officer and detective, Brandon has served in the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Baton Rouge City Police. Brandon is currently a licensed realtor with Keller Williams Premier Services.
Browning says that residents’ number one concern, voiced to him, is fair and equitable assessments.
According to Browning, as a former business owner, he believes he has the management skills to make the Assessor’s Office the most efficient and professional office in the state. He previously owned three fitness centers and is one of the top producing real estate agents in the state.
Browning wants to make sure that the public is aware of all the tax exemptions for which citizens are eligible - including tax breaks for disabled veterans and senior citizens.
As a law enforcement officer, Brandon says the he believes in a high moral and ethical standard. Browning won the Valor Award from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2005.
The race became contentious early after a T.V. report claimed that Taylor and his wife, Delia, had enriched themselves through campaign finance flow-through as Taylor’s wife owns a media company. The News refuted the claim, as end-user companies such as newspapers, T.V. stations, and magazines charge either the political candidate or media company up front to avoid payment issues after campaign season closes.
If the media company pays, they will seek reimbursement through the candidate.
Delia will still face the ethics board due to a technicality in law. She is a sole proprietor, however state law states that a company must be a corporation in good standing with the Secretary of State for over a year. The Secretary of State does not handle sole-proprietorships, instead passing them along to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Taylor’s meeting with the board will not occur until November, at which time it will be determined if they will be investigated or not.
A second T.V. report came out, this one hosting an anonymous source, that claimed more issues which were eventually retracted due to inaccuracy - including multiple instances of the name ‘John Blount’ which were, in fact, different people.