Chamberlain: 16 years of working for the people
Garfield County isn’t the same as it was when I was first elected county treasurer 16 years ago. But then, what is? And thank goodness for the advances we have made! I believe that under my leadership and the advances of modern technology now available to us, we are able to give the citizens of Garfield County quality, courteous and professional service. We are constantly working to improve our level of service and efficiency.
The Garfield County treasurer has multiple responsibilities. No one really likes the tax collector no matter who it is; but, how good that tax collector is can be an issue for everyone.
By statute, the treasurer is charged with the responsibility of collecting money for the county and disbursing the collected funds to the various taxing authorities in the county. My office has had a 98-99 percent success ratio in collecting these taxes every year.
When property taxes are not paid by the owner, it is the treasurer’s responsibility to offer those taxes at a tax lien sale. Many people think the property is sold, but it is actually just the taxes that are sold.
With new laws the complexity of tax collection has increased. This upcoming year will be the first year for the homestead exemption enabling qualified seniors to receive a tax exemption for 50 percent of the first $200,000 of property value on their primary residence. The state of Colorado will pay the exempt portion of those taxes.
The treasurer does not control how much you pay in taxes or the input of information to create the tax roll. The county assessor is responsible for determining the value of the property and the creation of the tax roll. The assessor certifies and transfers the tax roll electronically to the treasurer’s office for collection.
Many people are also surprised to find out that the county treasurer does not pay the county’s bills. It is the Board of County Commissioners that decides how to spend that money. The commissioners’ staff in the Accounting Office issues the checks, maintains the budget reports and general ledger accounts.
The treasurer in Garfield County also serves as the public trustee, executing releases of deeds of trust, and processing foreclosures. Foreclosure proceedings can be complicated and most people don’t understand the steps involved. You hear about people getting property at below-market price through a foreclosure sale (or through a tax lien sale), but the other side of the story is the person who loses their property. No one wants or expects to be in this position, and each customer is given considerate and professional service.
I constantly remind my staff and myself that we work for the people of Garfield County. Each taxpayer and homeowner is an individual, with individual needs, and they deserve to be given courteous, friendly and professional service.
On a personal note, I have been a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley for over 30 years. My husband, John Foulkrod, a former Carbondale town trustee, now serves on the Carbondale Education Foundation Board. Both of our daughters, Olivia and Catherine, graduated from Carbondale schools.
Serving as your Garfield County treasurer has been an honor and a privilege. Thank you! As the treasurer, I have always maintained an open-door policy making my office available to the citizens of Garfield County at any time.
I am asking for your vote on Nov. 5 so that I may continue to use my experience and knowledge in working for the people of Garfield County as their treasurer.
Incumbent Georgia Chamberlain is the Democratic candidate for Garfield County treasurer.
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