Meet your Jefferson County primary election candidates
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Bio: Colorado resident since 1987, Jeffco since 2004. Real estate agent for 20+ years. Served as press secretary to a U.S Senator. Owned a newspaper,and a television station. Consulted with many Colorado cities and counties as well as such companies as IBM, Microsoft, GE, Oracle, Transamerica, Sun Microsystems and Ford.
Why are you running for Assessor?
I ran four years ago because I thought the office needed new leadership. In my first term, we have dramatically improved the website, and dramatically reduced the percentage of property owners who feel the need to file an appeal. We have embarked on an aggressive plan to improve technology and digitize the office. I am running again because the work isn’t finished. You don’t transition from decades of paper to digital files overnight. You can’t replace enterprise software quickly. Sometimes an office needs change, and sometimes it needs stability and continuity.
What is your biggest strength as a candidate?
I have four years of experience running the office, improving processes and supporting staff in their efforts in imaging and creating the best possible assessor’s office. I ran four years ago as a change agent, and I’ve spent four years working with staff to develop and implement better process analysis to streamline our work. We’ve developed better data analytics in order to work smarter and more accurately. My biggest strength is identifying leaders and ensuring they are in positions of leadership.
Why do you want to return to work for Jefferson County government?
I don’t work for Jefferson County government. I work for the residents and taxpayers of the County. I consider myself a fiduciary of the taxpayers’ money. State law spells out the duties of the office. We need to do those things well, and do them at the lowest possible cost. The office spends less today than it did four years ago under the prior administration. In spite of giving raises and investing in state-of-the-art technology, we have returned $597,000 to the general fund under my watch. Working for the taxpayers is an honor and a sacred trust.
How do you see the role of Assessor working with other departments and offices in Jefferson County?
We work closely with the treasurer’s office to ensure they have the data they need to produce correct and timely tax bills. We work with more than 200 taxing authorities in the county to ensure that their boundaries are correct and their leadership has the information they need to set their mill levies. We pay for aerial photography to help us identify and value properties, and we share that imagery with every department that wants it and with every city, fire district etc. within the county that wants it — at no charge.
Anything else you want voters to know?
The ballot will show the party affiliation of the candidates. The job, though, is nonpartisan. There is nothing I can do to raise or lower taxes. We are charged by State law with valuing property accurately and fairly, based on the market. Every Assessor in Colorado is audited by the state to ensure that we do our jobs correctly. I am not a politician, but a technocrat. The job is highly technical, and must be done correctly. The Assessor’s office should not be politicized. We strive to treat each taxpayer equally whether their property is worth $100,000 or $100,000,000.
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