Ok so have most of you recovered from the shock of opening up your 2017 Notice of Value from the Elbert County Assessor?
You might be wondering by what unicorn magical process did they come up with the percentages of increase? The legend goes that in 2013 County Assessor, Billie Mills, decided two things; to fire or run off a bunch her employees, and that property in Elbert County was undervalued. So that year, property values increased slightly and employees decreased a bunch.
Then in 2015 the County hired a “well-respected company from Lamar” to do assessments that the now sharply reduced EC staff was unable to accomplish. Then this is where the typical Elbert County government fog rolled in to muddy the facts: Mike Akana (who has his own interesting reputation in various Counties) somehow wormed his way into working under said “well-respected Lamar company “ (as a subcontractor-surrogate-buddy of Billie – or something else that nobody concerned will admit to.) So Mike Akana did the residential and commercial values for the County, apparently from the state of Florida at the time using wild-ass guessing or software, but never actually physically inspecting the properties (as required by law.)
Flash forward a bit. Billie Mills then hires Mike Akana as her special data analyst....and what happens....residential values jumped all over the board (even in the same neighborhoods) from a minus to over 181% increase and those are just the ones that have been investigated so far. And commercial properties, which Elbert County is desperate to attract, go from a minus 3% to a 200% increase. Apparently Akana’s Ouija board got his Monopoly game pregnant.
Property assessments are supposed to be based on property sales information gathered from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. And your property value is established from those sales - when like property is compared to other like properties.
Is that what is happening? The Ouija board says NO.
YOU NEED TO DO THIS FAST
So, figure out your percentage of increase from the valuation the Assessor’s Office sent you...if it's not like homes in your neighborhood then PROTEST your value. With your Notice of Valuation is a “Real Property Appeal Form.” Fill it out and get it into the Assessor’s office (hand deliver or get Postmarked) by June 1.) Demand that the assessor's office to show you how they valued YOUR home....and if you don't like the answer they give you....go on to higher authority ....the County Board of Equalization...and then to the state Board of Equalization. Remember the taxes you’ll pay next year are based on your property valuation – you know, in case you didn’t think this issue is important.
Elbert County is not booming like say Denver or high valued San Francisco; we are not shiny with lots of friendly services. We’ve got dirt roads, essentially non-existent infrastructure and scant services. Contrary to Elbert County Government’s rich fantasy life, property and values here are not sky-rocketing to raise the tax base. We are not a destination; we are a dusty pass-through on the way to somewhere.
Billie Mills needs to quit hiding behind Mike Akana’s data cloud, cut him loose, and do the job she was elected to do. Hire employees that know what they doing and get the job done right. Oh and by the way your County Assessor's value went down in 2015 ....up in 2017 but not by the 75-100% that other's did.....now that’s unicorn magic in action.
72 Hours To Live and in Elbert County You're On Your Own
Elbert County Community Cares Day at the Elbert County Fair Grounds on Saturday, July 8th. ECCO will be distributing backpacks filled with school supplies to the children who participate in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program in Elbert County, which serves closed to 720 children in the k-12 schools. To donate supplies or funds, or as a participating organization, please contact Pam at 303-621-2599.
In 2014, Elbert County appointed its first county manager. It was not a unanimous appointment by the three commissioners. Then Commissioner Kurt Schlegel wanted to thank then road and bridge manager Ed Ehmann for protecting Schlegel when state officials came after the county for exposing asbestos at the Elizabeth titan missile silo/trash transfer site. Schlegel, acting on his own, directed Ehmann to give the keys to the site to a contractor for the purpose of extracting scrap metal. OOPS! They blamed it all on the contractor. Following a $20,000 fine from the state and closure of the site, Ehmann was rewarded with a bump to a newly created county manager position and a $109K annual salary. The county is still paying off that fine and the site is still closed.
In a 2015 report from the National Association of Counties (NaCO), less than half (43%) of U.S. counties have a county manager. (See this report here):
In the spirit of helpfulness, a concerned citizen offers our county commissioners some easily obtained information via Google on how to find a qualified county manager:
The opening paragraphs in this document read:
"For many governing board members, hiring a local government manager may be the most important decision you will make during your tenure. Think about it: The person you choose as your next manager must be able to carry out all of the policies that you establish, in the way that you want them carried out. In addition, she or he must ensure the provision of all your government services at the level that your citizens demand and expect. Your new manager will have a major effect on your organization and community, one that will extend well beyond your term in office. That is a pretty high standard for your manager search, so it makes sense that you will want to do everything you can to get it right."
"Hiring a local government manager is not a case of finding the "winning" candidate from among the applicants - it is more a matter of finding the right match for you and the manager. Select a mismatch, and you will be doing another search before you know it. Find the right match, and you will be making an investment in the long-term success of your community. This publication is intended to help you conduct a thoughtful, thorough manager search that will provide you and your eventual selection with all the information needed to determine if you are both making the right choice."
My personal opinion is that the commissioners need to hear unfiltered information from qualified department heads and employees. Hiring a qualified financial manager is essential. Until this county begins moving strongly in a positive financial direction, there is no need for an unqualified unprofessional county manager.
---- Concerned Elbert County resident
The Elbert County Comprehensive Plan is under revision; your ideas, concerns, and input are needed. There are 2 remaining citizen input meetings scheduled, as follows:
Please visit https://www.elbertcountycompplan.com, which provides us with the activity calendar, upcoming Agenda, review of prior meetings, polling opportunities, maps, documents, status of the comprehensive plan, and a “Contact Us” link to share your ideas. Watch for smaller public meetings hosted by HOAs, churches, and other organizations.
A Regular Chatty Kathy
Tom Peterson, Chair of the Elbert County Republicans, is a real peach. I can tell you, if he wants to espouse his views on any topic under the sun....Click 4 Article
Independence (formerly Bandera East and Bandera West) approved in 2009 by BOCC resolutions 09-13 and 9-14 is out of compliance regarding Colorado law for PUD Zoning because over three years of inactivity has passed not pursuing “vested property rights for development.” In short, Elbert County is not adhering to Colorado law or its own Master Plan. Yet another lawsuit in the making against Elbert County’s amateur government and under qualified attorney?