Yellico, Gorman square off for Garfield County Assessor vote |

Yellico, Gorman square off for Garfield County Assessor vote

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Glenwood Springs native Jim Yellico believes he has the knowledge and experience to beat out incumbent John Gorman [first elected in 2006] and take over the job of Garfield County Assessor.

Both men have worked as real estate agents in the past, Gorman for 18 years in Glenwood Springs and Yellico for 12 years in New Castle.

And both men urged taxpayers to get more involved in the assessment and taxation process. Local property values will be reassessed next year.

“You deserve, just, more service, more attention to your personal property assessments,” Yellico told a crowd of voters at the Aug. 7 Issues and Answers forum at the Glenwood Springs City Hall.

But Gorman contended that he has been doing the job the voters want him to, including the inauguration of audits of the tax accost of the companies working in the oil and gas fields of the Piceance Basin, which provide the lion’s share of the county’s annual property tax revenues. His election four years ago was, in part, credited to his promise to conduct such audits of the gas companies.

Gorman said he has found $6 million in unpaid taxes already, which has yielded $4.3 million in cash for the county and the other taxing districts in the region, and more is expected in the coming years as the audits continue.

“My opponent says you deserve more. I say you deserve the best,” Gorman declared at the forum.

Yellico conceded that Gorman has been “doing a good job with the audits” and pledged to continue them.

But, he added, it is the assessor’s job to “create an inviting business environment that will bring jobs to Garfield County,” indicating that the audits might not be the best way of doing that.

The two sparred over Gorman’s use of a commercial real estate appraiser with a Denver office. Yellico said this is improper and pledged to hire a local commercial appraiser to give the job to a deserving local who would spend his paychecks in the local economy.

Gorman, however, said that would cost perhaps 40 percent more than the current arrangement, and doubted whether the taxpayers are in the mood for that kind of budget increase.

Yellico also was heavily critical of the existing website for the assessor’s office, saying it needs to be updated. Gorman countered that all the data a taxpayer might need is on the website, excluding only the kind of confidential information that is kept private under state law.

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