2014 Outstanding Appraiser of the Year Award: Melissa Austin, Randolph County

Durham, NC – July 31st, 2015. Posted by Shelley Hare.

Intro: During the North Carolina Association of Assessing Officers (NCAAO) 2014 Fall Conference in Wilmington, Melissa Austin of the Randolph County Tax Department was awarded Outstanding Appraiser of the Year. Austin joined the Randolph County Tax Office in March of 1985, accruing over 30+ years of experience in her field.

This award is presented annually in recognition to those who have demonstrated an exceptional performance in tax assessment and public service. Nominated by Debra Hill, Tax Administrator for Randolph County, it is clear to both her coworkers and those in the local government tax industry across NC alike that Austin exemplifies these qualities.

Farragut spoke with Austin to gain her perspective on this recognition and what it means to her. She also shared advice on what it takes to be successful in the appraisal industry, along with the most rewarding and challenging aspects of her position.

How did it feel to be recognized by your peers and awarded the 2014 Outstanding Appraiser of the Year Award?

"Over the years, I’ve come to realize how blessed I am because I love what I do. When Mr. Ben Chavis was reading the consideration letter, I thought that could be me, but it could also be someone else. I am humbled that my Administrator, Debra Hill, nominated me. It is nice to be appreciated and recognized for your dedication by others who do not work with you every day."

What advice do you have for your peers looking to achieve similar success in the appraisal industry?

"As with any job - work with integrity and have pride in your work; give 110% and learn as much as you can. Let your rewards come from knowing you’ve given all you can give and you’ve done the best job possible. It isn’t all about us; it’s also about the citizens and what we owe to them."

What are the most awarding aspects of your position?

"I like to problem solve and discover ways to make the job easier. I like to be challenged and I appreciate the opportunity this job offers me to experience different trials every day. I have been blessed to have worked for 3 different administrators that have seen the potential in me and have given me an opportunity to advance."

What are the most challenging aspects of your position?

"Working with taxpayers can sometimes be a challenge and finding the right balance can be difficult. I know everyone can relate to this – sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done."

As a committee member of the NCPTS & NCVTS Users Group, and the NCAAO, are there any new goals or accomplishments within these organizations that you are excited about or would like to share with others in the tax industry?

"Since going live with NCPTS, my goal has been to share Randolph County staff’s knowledge and expertise with other counties. Having a shared tax system enables us the ability to share our knowledge and experiences with our fellow NCPTS counties, as well as learning from them, in an effort to continually enhance and improve the software for all counties involved."