Incumbent Hurst touts history with office as advantage in assessor’s race
A long history with the office and a wealth of experience are two compelling reasons to keep her in office, said Garfield County Assessor Shannon Hurst. She started as an administrative clerk in 1984 and in 1995 was appointed deputy assessor under then-County Assessor Steve Rippy. When Rippy resigned in 2001 to become New Castle town administrator, Hurst got the top job. She ran for office the following year unopposed and was duly elected.”We need someone in the office who is aware of everything we do,” Hurst said. “If you don’t know the job you won’t be able to answer (customer) questions.”She pointed out that in the last five years she’s made some notable improvements to the office, including a Web site that allows users to access assessor records. She’s also proud of the audit she’s conducting on Williams Production, one of the county’s largest natural gas producers.”We should have (it) done by the end of the year,” she said. To her critics, including opponent John Gorman, Hurst said the audit has taken time “because I didn’t want to compromise the integrity and honesty of the audit by hurrying it. We’re going as fast as we can.”Nor does she agree with Gorman that all oil and gas companies need to be audited to determine if they are under-reporting their incomes and paying too little in taxes.”I don’t think all the companies are under-reporting,” she said.Hurst also explained that oil and gas companies must provide annual declarations of income. “We spend a great deal of time doing yearly reviews of these declarations and supporting documentation,” Hurst said in a recent letter to the editor. “These reviews allow us to do a statistical audit of prices, expenses and deductions between all companies and judge whether someone appears to be reporting suspect information when compared to the competition.”Six companies had to send in amended tax returns last year because of erroneous declarations, which resulted in significant tax dollars for the county, Hurst said.Besides the oil and gas issue, Hurst said her office is facing a challenge in overall growth in the county.”Appraisals are more complex, and we’re seeing more litigation,” she said. “We need to compensate our employees and have an adequate staff. We need to balance doing the (annual) comprehensive audit and the (property) reappraisal and meet statutory deadlines.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
Occupation: Garfield County assessor; worked in the office since 1984; appointed to fill the seat vacated by Steve Rippy in 2001, elected in 2002. Age: 55 Family: Husband Nick, children Todd, 31, and Kriska, 36; 3 grandchildren Hometown: Steamboat Springs Party affiliation: Republican When did you come to Garfield County and from where? 1984, from Denvern
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