Hurst has commitment and experience
With more than half of Garfield County’s property tax revenue coming from oil and gas, there is no questioning the importance of the industry to the county and the Garfield County Assessor’s race.
The assessor’s office encompasses more than collecting taxes from the oil and gas industry, however, and this is why incumbent assessor Shannon Hurst, 55, should remain in office for another term.
Hurst, a Republican, has been in the office for 22 years, serving as county assessor since 2001. During her time as assessor she has dealt not only with the growth of the oil and gas industry, but also the overall population and construction boom in the county.
Democratic challenger John Gorman, 61, said recently he could “get up to speed quickly” because “the day-to-day operations are covered in manuals.” While it is true a large amount of the assessor’s office duties is governed by Colorado state statute, there is no substitute for experience and an intimate knowledge of the office and its duties when dealing with taxpayers on a personal level.
Hurst’s 22 years in the office show a commitment to the position Gorman doesn’t embrace. He said he doesn’t want to be a career county employee, but would rather implement changes in the accounting and audit procedures, relating primarily to oil and gas, and step aside.
Government offices being what they are, change generally does not come quickly.
Gorman came to Garfield County in 1970 and has been a real estate agent for the past 18 years. He was involved with an unsuccessful ballot initiative petition drive to protect surface owners rights against oil and gas development and his goal of making sure the industry pays its fair share is worth noting.
The assessor’s office is currently auditing Williams Production ” an audit Gorman believes is moving too slowly and should be expanded.
The residents of Garfield County are impacted by oil and gas development, and Gorman’s desire to ensure the residents gain all they should from that impact should be applauded. If re-elected, Hurst should keep a watchful eye on the industry and possibly expand the oversight as Gorman suggests.
Still, her overall knowledge and experience, in addition to her past performance, leads us to recommend that Shannon Hurst be re-elected as Garfield County Assessor.
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