Garfield County Assessor Hurst places a high value on her job
It’s easy to see how much Garfield County Assessor Shannon Hurst enjoys her job. She can’t stop smiling.
“I do like the job,” she said. “I like dealing with taxpayers, and I love working with numbers.”
Hurst is running unopposed in the Nov. 5 general election, and is ready and willing to take on another four years with a staff she describes as “wonderful.”
Hurst fine-tuned her number-crunching skills at the University of Colorado at Denver, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in finance. She’s worked “almost every desk” in her 18 years at the county assessor’s office in the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood Springs, which is within walking distance to the home she shares with husband Nick, a Glenwood Springs post office window clerk.
“He’s the one with the handlebar moustache,” she said with a smile. Hurst also has two grown stepchildren, Todd, 27, and Kriska, 32.
Hurst has been in her current job since August 2001, when former Assessor Steve Rippy resigned to take the New Castle town administrator job. She was well equipped to handle her new responsibilities, as she had worked as deputy assessor for seven years, and was already familiar with many of Rippy’s duties.
On top of performing appraisals every other year, Hurst and her 14 staff members are busy. In the past year alone, she’s been able to implement several programs.
She’s combined the county’s mapping department with the Geographic Information System (GIS) department, coordinating efforts with the county’s building and planning department.
“We’re not duplicating efforts any longer,” she explained.
In addition, she’s arranged an internal computer networking relationship between the clerk and recorder’s records and the appraiser’s office.
“This has really helped us a lot,” she said. “Now we can update ownership records and deeds daily, right here on our computers, without constantly going to the clerk and recorder’s office.”
She’s also overseeing Garfield County’s implementation of Colorado’s new senior property tax exemption, which allows qualifying seniors 65 and over to exempt 50 percent of the first $200,000 in actual value of their primary residence.
And last February, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that leased land, such as hangars at Garfield County Airport in addition to grazing rights and an outfitter’s use of public land for hunting or guiding, are subject to a possessory interest tax. Researching and invoicing these taxpayers is a “huge project” for her department, she said.
Hurst has a number of goals for her coming term. She’s working to get public information on the assessor’s website, so private citizens can access data directly from the Internet for a nominal fee. She continues to work with Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf to integrate aspects of the two offices, and wants to convert GIS maps so property owners can access information on property boundaries and variances. Finally, she wants to network the treasurer’s office with the clerk and appraisal offices so that each department can access and share relevant material.
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