Republican: El Paso County, CO
Email Address: FlutcherForAssessor@gmail.com
Occupation/Vocation: Deputy Assessor
Military Background: Army and Air Force Veteran
Resident of the El Paso County: Lifelong resident
I hold the highest licensure in Colorado, Certified General, with 26 years of work in assessing property and mass appraisal for the El Paso County Assessor’s Office. I have experience appraising vacant land, residential, and commercial properties with an emphasis on commercial land and single-family homes. In addition, I have expertise helping our community navigate the losses from massive fires, floods, and landslides by creating a system to prorate values (taxes) and ensure residential assessment rates are correctly applied for the years following the disaster.
My vision for being county assessor is the fair and equitable treatment of all property owners. This includes staff education and cross- training, objectivity in the determination of values, and unbiased decisions regarding appeals. This includes deference to property owners when there is any doubt about the accuracy of an assessed value. Last, but not least is I will continue to promote an attitude of good customer service advanced by the four assessors for whom I have worked. These are personal principles I have operated under; and I will ensure these principles are embraced by all who work in the Assessor’s Office.
The role of assessor is to discover, list, classify, and value property for the purpose of levying property taxes. The rights of the assessor are the ability to perform those duties as a representative of his or her county, without undue influence from special interests in other counties or unfunded mandates from the legislature. The duty of the assessor is to perform his or her role with objectivity and fairness to all constituents. This includes ensuring valuations comply with State Board of Equalization requirements, property records are accurate, and appeals are answered based on supportable data without any bias.
Senior Property Tax Exemption
I voted for and whole-heartedly supported the senior homestead exemption. I support legislation to make the exemption portable, thus allowing seniors to move and take the exemption with them. This would allow homeowners to downsize, move from two-story to single level homes, and to transition to a property with no exterior maintenance depending upon one’s individual needs. In addition, the exemption needs to be doubled to be consistent with two decades of market trends in housing prices. SB22-093 would have accomplished this; and I am at a loss to understand why three senators from the Denver area killed the bill in committee.
The original Colorado Constitution created a system of property taxation based on equalization, which means a class of property is valued equally among all owners using the same methodology. I believe there is wisdom in the philosophy of Colorado’s ad valorem method, which more closely follows professional appraisal practice. Imagine the disparity between two tax bills for the same home on the same street, where one owner pays ten times the property tax amount over the other, which has happened in California due to Prop. 13. The value cap system also harms new buyers by creating even more limitation on purchasing power than already exists, because one must factor in the new tax that will be charged after the sale.
Mill levies are established by taxing authorities such as the county, incorporated cities, school districts, and special districts. For tax entities that have not “de-tabored,” each representative board of a tax authority must set the mill levy according to TABOR revenue limitations. The levy will change based on the values certified by the assessor. Growth and new construction or, in the case of schools, student enrollment, allow for a limited increase in revenue. However, the mill levy cannot be set at a rate that would cause the revenue cap to be exceeded without voter approval. Large increases in assessed value may lead to a reduction in the mill levy to satisfy the requirements of TABOR.
I supported TABOR in 1992 and I continue to support it today. The ability of voters to have a say in the growth of government spending has strengthened the will of the people and restrained individual lawmaker’s special interest in causes that benefit only a few people. I also support the ability of a community to make their own choice to increase funding for their fire district or pass a school bond issue under TABOR. TABOR accomplishes additional reforms such as prohibiting a local district from imposing an income tax and allowing for the local exemption of business personal property.
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