Lake County Assessor Jolie Covaciu is the only Republican to currently hold countywide office in Lake County. Three Democrats — Jerome Prince, Michael Troxell and Jesus Ortiz Jr. — are vying for the chance to run against her in the Nov. 4 election.
Covaciu is unopposed in the May 6 primary.
Prince and Troxell are well qualified for the job, and either would do well. Ortiz did not respond to our calls until Wednesday, long after the interview with his opponents had taken place.
Troxell has 30 years of experience in the banking industry and about half as much on the Schererville Town Council.
Prince is on the Lake County Council and served on the Gary City Council prior to that. He was one of the first Hoosiers to receive level 3 appraiser certification. In fact, he has taught courses in appraising at Department of Local Government Finance conferences.
Troxell's priorities for the office include using up-to-date technology to improve data collection and reduce the number of future appeals. He also wants to eliminate the backlog of appeals. Prince said much the same thing.
Prince and Troxell also agree on the need for additional training for employees so more are certified as level 2 or level 3 appraisers.
Their responses when asked to point out their differences were telling.
Troxell emphasized his experience with Schererville government right after saying his private sector experience "shows trustworthiness in me."
Prince noted both he and Troxell have "significant and relevant" private sector experience, but said his public service sets him apart.
"I'm the only candidate who has any experience in property evaluation for tax purposes," Prince said.
Prince's slight edge is he's already working with the five township assessors – which, we must point out, is more assessors than any other Indiana county has. Welcome to the land of too much government.
We endorse Prince for the Democratic nomination for Lake County assessor.