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 ---> For the "Facts" rather than the Country's Fractured-Fairy-Tale Version of events... 

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Click here to download the Settlement and Intergovernmental Agreements

 2018 Primary Election

Accessible voting system for in-person voting is available at the Samuel Elbert Building
for any eligible voter. This will be available for any elector Monday - Friday, June 18
June 23 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday June 23rd, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and Election Day June 26, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
There is not a drop box at Walmart Anymore.

24 Hour Drive-Up Drop Box
Samuel Elbert Building
(Location: Motor Vehicle drive through)
440Comanche Street
Kiowa, CO 80117

24 Hour Drive-Up Drop Box
Samuel Elbert Building
(Location: Motor Vehicle drive through)
440Comanche Street
Kiowa, CO 80117

24 Hour Ballot Drop Box
Town of Elizabeth
151 South Banner Street
Elizabeth, CO 80107
8:00 a.m. through June 26th - 7:00 p.m.

For More Information About the Election - CLICK HERE

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Letter to the Editor: Opportunity for Positive Change

Part One

The June 26, 2018 primary election offers Elbert County residents an opportunity to make positive change in our assessor’s office. For me, the most bothersome issue in that office is the broken oath to be fair and equitable to every taxpayer. The assessor and her deputy both took that oath. This breakdown is caused by self-imposed ignorance and a lack of personal accountability. Cronyism in hiring unqualified friends is another part of the problem. The current assessor has held office for 8 years and still possesses no state licensure or class experience. The deputy, after five years in the office and only after deciding to run for the assessor position, finally decided to attempt acquiring an ad valorem license. That license was granted just this month and expires in December 2018.

An ad valorem license is the first step in licensure for county assessor employees involved in appraisal and valuations, requiring 110 hours of class instruction and a state test. Information contained in the Local Government Handbook prepared by the state’s legislative staff summarizes the duties for county assessors:

County Assessor. The county assessor is responsible for discovering, listing, classifying, and valuing all property in the county in accordance with state laws. It is the assessor's duty to determine the actual and taxable value of property. Most real property, such as residential and commercial property, is reassessed every odd-numbered year, and personal property is reassessed every year. The assessor is required to send out a notice of valuation each year to property owners, which reflects the owner's property value and the amount of property taxes due to the county treasurer. Qualifications for county assessors are addressed by the Real Estate Appraiser's Act. The act requires, among other things, that real estate appraisers meet state licensing requirements and that county assessors comply with the licensing requirements within two years after taking office.

The current data analyst specialist was relieved of his positions in assessor offices in another Colorado county and subsequently in a Florida county. In 2014 the Elbert County assessor directed a contractor to hire this individual (a personal friend) to inspect and record all improved properties as the county was not meeting statutory requirements. That effort was terminated early due to this individual failing to meet contractual obligations. Subsequently, the assessor hired him as a county employee. Now we see him as the only spokesperson for the assessor’s office at all county commissioner and county board of equalization (CBOE) hearings. He only acquired the ad valorem license in June 2017, just after the CBOE hearings where taxpayers appeal their revalues.

During the 2017 CBOE it was discovered that home revalues in the Sky Rim development were grossly overvalued, some with over 100% increases. An organized protest by 24 homeowners forced revaluation reductions for each of those homes. The reductions ranged from $64,000 to $190,000 with the majority in the $100,000 range. It is likely that every home in that development was incorrectly valued. And, instead of identifying and correcting the problem for the entire development, only those homeowners who filed a protest got relief. Is that fair and equitable?

One has to question, if such a large volume of erroneous values in just one development occurred under the current assessor and deputy, then how can citizens trust the revaluation they received?

The current assessor, Billie Mills, is term limited and cannot seek reelection. Her deputy, Susan Murphy, is running for assessor and is being opposed by Laura Forbes in the June 26th primary.

Mrs. D. E. Wilson

Part Two

Last week I wrote about the lack of training and knowledge in the Elbert County assessor’s office that leads to missing, inaccurate and unfair property assessments and valuations. Accountability must come from the voters in either electing qualified candidates or recalling unqualified office holders. The elected assessor has a duty to insure complete, accurate, and timely assessments and valuations which means ensuring her staff obtains required proficiency and licensure.

Previously I cited a couple of examples of sizeable and voluminous errors in the 2017 property revaluations resulting from carelessness and ignorance (little to no training.) Recall that 24 homeowners in Sky Rim hired an attorney to prove overvaluation by the assessor, ultimately resulting in reductions for each home by $64,000-$190,000.

Yet another example… In the town of Elizabeth, a very large barn structure that we all noticed as it was being built just a few years ago has not been added to the EC tax rolls. A photo of the structure on the land is on the assessor’s website and is dated August 2016, but the tax record shows no building permit information and no change to the taxes. This is lost revenue to the county, the town of Elizabeth, the fire department, schools etc. This is nothing more than an assessor’s office in disarray with little regard for doing the basic job.

The EC assessor’s website does not contain all information that should be available to the taxpayers. Permits issued by the county building department are no longer listed on a property record card, appraiser comments are no longer listed, and changes in classification are no longer listed. Staff is no longer required to document changes in any hard (paper) files. Thus, there is no paper trail. The assessor’s website that can be viewed by the public is updated only two to three times a year, which encourages non-transparency. Citizens, business owners, insurance companies, mortgage companies, and fee appraisers use that website to gain the most current information on properties. In the current assessor’s staff, there is no oversight on work performed (someone double checking for accuracy and timeliness).

Lack of accountability by the current assessor’s office by not correcting errors also affects the county treasurer and county clerk and recorder who rely on accurate information from the assessor’s office. Incorrect ownership information from the assessor’s office could result in a property going to tax sale for delinquent tax amounts.

Lack of concern for property owners who lost their homes in the recent fires in Elbert County is shown by the failure to adjust the property values immediately in order to provide tax relief to these residents. This lack of timely adjustments also affects mortgage and insurance company adjustments.

These types of errors happen due to the lack of training and due diligence by the assessor and her deputy.

Mrs. D. E. Wilson


Board of County Commissioners’ Meetings


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BOCC June 13, 2018BOCC May 23, 2018BOCC May 9, 2018

Disturbing video shows middle school attack in Elizabeth (Click)