Former assessor back on the job in Eagle County
It didn’t take long for Shannon Hurst to confirm that she’s not the retiring type.”I don’t want to retire. I had a few weeks, a couple of months of that and I was going crazy,” said the former Garfield County assessor.Hurst, a Republican, lost to Democratic challenger John Gorman in November’s election.In early March, she went to work as the supervisor of residential appraisers in the Eagle County Assessor’s Office.”I’m glad to be back at work, that’s for sure,” Hurst said.Despite the commute through Glenwood Canyon, the Glenwood resident is enjoying her new job in Eagle, and said she’s dealing with different issues than in her former job.”You have a lot of high-end homes. I’m in the gated communities so that’s pretty fun to appraise those properties. You can certainly see some nice places.”Hurst looks back with mixed feelings about her old job.”Of course I miss the people that work there, plus the citizens of Garfield County. I do not miss the issues with oil and gas.”That’s such a hot issue with citizens that I did spend a lot of time talking with taxpayers about that,” she said.One big issue for homeowners is what effect drilling has on their property values. Another for the assessor’s office has been how accurately it is valuing the natural gas being produced in Garfield County.Gorman won election largely based on the promise to make sure companies’ gas production is accurately assessed so they pay all they should in taxes.Hurst said she’s surprised that Gorman has yet to try to fulfill that promise.”That was such an issue. He was going to get it done right away,” she said.But she understands Gorman’s desire to focus first on getting the training needed to do a good job as assessor.Gorman had never worked in an assessor’s office. Hurst had worked in the Garfield office since 1984 and as assessor since 2001.”It’s a political position, so you don’t really have to have the experience to run for that office. That’s just the way of the world,” Hurst said with a laugh.She was glad that Gorman decided to work on getting an appraiser license.”You really need that so you can direct your people and know what they’re doing,” Hurst said. “A lot of taxpayers, they want to see the assessor, not the appraisers. You need to be able to talk to them in a knowledgeable fashion so they understand how the office came up with those (property value) figures.”Hurst said she hasn’t heard much negative about Gorman’s performance. She’s encouraged that the office staff has remained largely the same despite the change in assessors.”It’s hard enough for someone to come in that doesn’t know the business, and then to have the turnover would be awful,” she said.She said Gorman took over at a difficult time, with the assessor’s office in the middle of the reappraisals it does every two years. But she said it helped that he had deputy assessor Lisa Warder around to oversee that effort. Warder also was in charge of the reappraisals under her, Hurst said.Contact Dennis Webb: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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