Week 1, candidates were asked: Please introduce yourself to the community in 250 words or less and explain why you are running for this position. Candidate responses are unedited.
I grew up in Lakewood, CO and moved to West Palm Beach, FL for a few years where I married my soul mate and both my children were born. In 1996 when my youngest was 2 months old my husband and I decided to move back home to Colorado to raise our children and picked Grand County for its small town family values. Both of our children attended the Kremmling Preschool where I also sat on the Preschool board as their Treasurer. Both kids are graduates of the West Grand School district.
I have sat on many boards during my time here in Grand County including: The West Grand School Board for 8 years, The West Grand Community Education Foundation for 6 years and was chair to the board 2 of those years. I have also volunteered on many school related committees such as the DAC and PTA. I was the Treasurer for the Kremmling Cattle Kings Hockey League for 12 years as well.
When I first came to Kremmling, I worked for Rocky Mountain Realty Surveys as the office manager. I was responsible for all aspects of accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll.
I have worked for Grand County for the past 18 years and 15 of those as the Deputy Treasurer and Chief Deputy Public Trustee. I have worked with all aspects of the Treasurer’s office and have a solid base and knowledge of all the statutes we are required to follow. The Treasurer’s office is a very specialized office and is highly mandated by state statues. It takes years to learn the complexity of
the state statutes, and I have spent years learning them. There is not a lot of “wiggle room” on how we apply the laws that direct our office. In short it is not a political office.
I have a lot of pride in how the Treasurer’s office has ran efficiently and honestly over the years I have worked here. Since the retirement of Christina Whitmer, I have been the appointed Treasurer and feel that it has been a very smooth transition. My goal is to maintain the high integrity our office runs on, to keep up on the automation we have implemented and to provide a high level of customer service to the citizens of Grand County.
What are the 2-3 greatest financial challenges you believe are currently facing the County, and how will you work to help solve them?
There are several financial challenges the county is currently facing such as the rising costs of health care, the Gallagher issue, and not to mention the effects of COVID on the county. However, the County Treasurer does not have any control over how county funds are spent. The Board of County Commissioners have sole discretion on how and where county funds are disbursed.
That being said, it is the Treasurer’s responsibility to make sure all county funds are invested wisely. County investments are heavily regulated by state statutes which determine how and where we are able to invest. It is the Treasurer’s job to make sure all the statutes are being followed and that the funds are invested with the highest return possible while staying within these parameters. I currently have in place several different sources within which to do this. I am constantly on the lookout for where we can earn the highest interest.
It is also the responsibility of the Treasurer to keep the Board of Commissioners up to date on an accurate accounting of all funds, whether liquid or invested.
It is my goal to maintain an open communication with the board and the accounting department to insure funds are being handled within the state statutes. I am always available and willing to work with the board on any issue no matter the subject.
Week 3: 1. If you are elected as treasurer, what will be your role in the Treasurer’s office to complete day-to-day tasks?
The Treasurer’s office has many parts, and while being the County’s bank is a part of that it is not the biggest. In fact for over the past year the Commissioner’s directed the Treasurer’s office not to make any new investments as they wanted liquid funds for some major projects going on within the county. So Investing was not even part of the job.
Due to the size of our office the role of Treasurer is not only a leadership role but a working role. First and foremost we are the county’s tax collector. We are responsible for the collection and the distribution of taxes for the county and the districts within (ie: Schools, Towns, and Special Districts etc.). We are also responsible for keeping an accurate accounting of funds available for each department within the county. One of the biggest portions of the position is acting as the Public Trustee. The Public Trustee is responsible for facilitating foreclosures and processing Release of Deed of Trust’s.
With my years of experience in the office I am well versed in all of the daily operations from the smallest to the most demanding. I plan to keep an active role in all the day-to-day tasks.
2. Do you have changes you would like to implement or see opportunities to make the Treasurer’s office more efficient?
In order to maintain the efficiency within the Treasurer’s office keeping up on technology and automation is very important. Over the years we have implemented automation wherever possible. During the 2008-2010 economy drop the Public Trustee saw a rise of over 500% in foreclosures, but with the automation and determination we were able to take on the increase in work without adding additional staff.
My plan is to keep up on technology, to remain a working leader in order to keep staff size down and to maintain my close working relationship with other departments and the commissioners to help achieve this goal.
Week 4: What is the most important aspect of the Treasurer’s responsibilities?
The Treasurer has three main responsibilities, to act as the county’s bank, the collection and disbursement of taxes and
to act as the Public Trustee. All three of these responsibilities are equally as important and highly regulated by state statutes.
First, to act as the county’s bank the Treasurer is responsible to safe guard all county funds. What does this mean? When directed by the county commissioners to make investments with county funds that not only have the highest yield but are done under state statute regulations. To make sure we have an accurate accounting of these funds we balance daily all funds being deposited or withdrawn. We work closely with the accounting department to make sure funds are allocated to the proper departments within the county. Providing the commissioners with an accurate accounting of all Treasurer accounts is done on at least a monthly basis.
Second, to act as the county’s tax collector the Treasurer is responsible for collecting and disbursing all property taxes. While the Assessor is responsible for the creation of the tax roll and amounts, it is the Treasurer that collects all funds. Our office is also responsible for the disbursement of all taxes collected for each taxing district on a monthly basis. We are also responsible for the Tax Lien Sale every November for any taxes not collected to that point. This year we only have 230 properties currently going to the tax sale out of the almost 27,000 tax notices sent out.
Third, to act as the Public Trustee, Colorado is unique in that we are the only state that has a Public Trustee. We are responsible for facilitating foreclosures and Release of Deed of Trusts. When facilitating foreclosures the Public Trustee basically acts as a mediator between the borrower and the lender, we do not represent either party. We are there to make sure all statutes are being followed in every step of the lengthy foreclosure process. As for Release of Deed of Trusts we process thousands of these a year. Basically we are there to make sure the lender has filed the release properly so that the mortgage is removed and doesn’t cause a cloud on the title to the property.
In conclusion in order to do all of these, it is very important to not only have a solid base knowledge of all state statutes that regulate these operations, but to constantly keep up with any changes. In order to do them efficiently I must always keep up on the technology and automation. I also believe that keeping staff morale high, having close working relationships with other departments and high quality customer service are just as important.
Week 5 – 1. The property tax auction is an important responsibility for the Treasurer’s office. Do you plan to have the auction online or in person? What are the advantages of each?
The tax lien sale is a huge responsibility as this is what guarantees all of the districts receive all the revenues due to them. The Treasurer’s office started doing the sale online in 2008. There are a lot of advantages to doing the sale online versus in person. First efficiency to have the sale in person takes a lot of planning, personnel and cost. We have worked with a company called RealAuction since going online and they handle a lot of the details at no cost to the county. Secondly holding the sale online opens it up to a wide range of investors that we could not get if they had to attend the sale in person. Having these investors provides a better chance that all the liens will get sold. We have had a 100% success rate for the last several years with the county holding none of the liens.
Our tax lien sale is currently underway and available liens can be viewed at https://grand.coloradotaxsale.com/ we are accepting registrations and deposits through October 29th at 2pm and the sale will close on November 5th. I encourage everyone to check it out.
Week 6: The final set of questions asked the candidates to explain why they were the best candidate and to recap.
I truly believe that I am the most qualified candidate for the position. I have worked for Grand County for the last eighteen years and have been the Deputy Treasurer and the Deputy Public Trustee for the last fifteen. The Treasurer’s office is a very specialized office that is highly mandated by state statutes and nothing like working in the private sector. I bring years of knowledge with me and I am familiar with all aspects of the daily office operations. I am well versed in the statutes that apply to our office whether it be Treasurer or Public Trustee. I have great working relationships in place with the other departments we work closely with and I am and always will be a working leader. I promise to not only keep an open mind but to actively look for ways that improvements can be made, whether to the efficiency of how things run or ways to improve customer service.
I have a lot of pride in how the Treasurer’s office has run efficiently and honestly over the years I have worked here. I feel that it has been a very smooth transition since the retirement of Christina Whitmer, and my appointment as Treasurer. My goal is to maintain the high integrity our office runs on, to keep up on the automation we have implemented and to provide a
high level of customer service to the citizens of Grand County.
Thank you for your support.