Term-limited assessor Vanderpool on his way out

Vanderpool Enlargephoto

Vanderpool

Montezuma County assessor Mark Vanderpool announced Monday that he is leaving his post and taking a job in the private sector.

“I will be term-limited in November 2014, and this offer at a tax services firm was too good to pass up,” Vanderpool said. “It is a bittersweet departure.”

Vanderpool’s last day will be Jan. 10, and then will relocate to Scottdale, AZ. He has been the assessor since 2006, and is in his second term.

The commissioners will name an interim assessor to fill in until the November election.

“I strongly recommend appointing Scott Davis as the interim assessor,” Vanderpool said. “He has 19 years experience in the office and is a very qualified, competent, licensed appraiser who is familiar with the office and the area.”

Davis, a Republican, has announced his candidacy for the assessor job in the 2014 election.

If appointed as interim assessor, Davis’s position would have to be filled with another appraiser.

During his term, Vanderpool gained recognition for auditing CO2 producer Kinder Morgan, resulting in a higher assessed valuation and additional $2 million tax bill in 2008. The company challenged the higher valuation, but recently lost an appeal in front of the Colorado Board of Assessment Appeals. The controversial case has statewide implications, and has dragged on for six years. Kinder Morgan is seeking additional appeals. (see related story)

The favorable ruling by the CBAA paves the way for additional audits of the companies for years 2009-2013.

“I’d hope that you would continue funding the additional professional staff needed for future audits,” Vanderpool said. “We’re on strong ground in the case. We’ve stepped on some toes, but we have been fair.”

The tax man does not enjoy much popularity, but Vanderpool’s amicable demeanor, sense of fairness, and professionalism earned him respect from the community.

“We’re going to miss you,” said Montezuma County Commissioner Larry Don Suckla.

Added commissioner Keenan Ertel, “This is an example of how term limit laws can bite you.”

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com