Garfield County assessor needs help |

Garfield County assessor needs help

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A sharp increase in growth has Garfield County Assessor John Gor­man looking to add employees in order to keep up with the workload.

The increase in building and con­struction in the county led Gorman to go before the county commis­sioners on Monday to ask them to fund a new appraiser position to help his office chart and assess that ongoing growth. The commission­ers unanimously approved Gor­man’s request.

The new employee will find, meas­ure and “place in our records new property and improvements” begin­ning June 30 or as soon as the office is able to hire the position, according to a memo Gorman wrote to commis­sioners.

The new position will cost about $30,207 for the coun­ty’s 2008 fiscal year. That cost esti­mate includes the employee’s pay ” $15.13 per hour ” along with benefits and other costs such as supplies and training.

“We had planned to ask for two employees in this position as of (Jan­uary),” Gorman wrote in his memo. “However, there is great advantage in getting this func­tion up and operating soon.”

By finding more properties sooner and adding them to the tax rolls, according to Gorman, the assessor’s office will better fulfill its statutory obligations and will likely add new revenue that will more than cover the cost of the additional staffer.

Gorman sought the new position as the county assessor’s office faces the specter of building-permit growth of about 13 percent per year for the next few years. Gorman’s long-term plan to meet the demand calls for the hiring of 11 more people in his office by 2013. The office currently has 21 employees.

“We have several open positions and we are looking to add (more),” Gorman said.

According to figures provided by the assessor’s office, Garfield Coun­ty and each municipality in the coun­ty issued a total of 1,141 building per­mits in 2004. Since then, the number of permits have increased every year, with the county and municipalities issuing 1,666 permits last year ” an increase of 46 percent compared to the 2004 numbers.

“If this trend continues and if some of the predictions that have been made about growth are any­thing true, I would need this person and another one like him,” Gorman said of the new appraiser position. “I would just like to start with one person to be out in the field all the time, picking up these properties that are coming from the new construc­tion.”

Gorman wrote in his memo that key issues affecting growth include gas exploration activities, continued construction of homes, secondary residences and the building of com­munity infrastructure, which includes new schools, office buildings, busi­nesses and municipal and county projects.

“In addition, oil shale exploration and recovery, if resumed, will increase growth both on the ground and in the demands of the assessor’s office,” Gorman wrote.

The Bureau of Land Management is currently completing a draft Pro­grammatic Environmental Impact Statement, which could pave the way for the commercial leasing of about 360,000 acres in Colorado to possible oil shale development. However, several companies cur­rently working on research and development leases in the area say it won’t be until some time in the next decade before they could decide to move forward with commercial pro­duction of the resource.