San Juan County Assessor Charles Zalmanek decided after his unopposed 2010 election to retire after completing his second term in office.
He recently reiterated that decision as part of a wide-ranging interview with the Journal about current issues and future plans at the assessor’s office.
Zalmanek’s proud to have moved the county to annual valuations and pleased that the new $300,000 software system he installed to replace the 20-year-old antiquated system works. He points out that reductions in assessed values caused by the recession have resulted in a decrease of the assessed value of the county from $8.13 billion in 2010 to $6.24 billion in 2013.
“I made fairness, uniformity and equity my goal when first elected assessor, and I’ve achieved those goals and embedded them in the entire staff,” he said. “The best thing about my job has been that I’ve had a competent, supportive staff. I’m proud to have been able to promote from within and to mentor John Kulseth, the chief appraiser, and the other appraisers to a high level of daily performance.”
Just as Paul Dossett mentored Zalmanek and encouraged him to run for assessor in 2006, Zalmanek is encouraging Kulseth to run in 2014. Kulseth confirmed that he intends to file for the position when candidate filing begins in early May.
Zalmanek said the current spat with the county council over farming and open space current use assessment reductions did not affect his decision.
“I decided not to run at the time of my 2010 election,”Zalmanek said.
But the current use assessment reduction for farmlands, timberlands and open space is an important and troubling issue, he concedes.
With both the state Attorney General and the Legislature getting involved with the issue, Open Space Act tax exemptions will likely remain an important 2014 election issue - one that John Kulseth and his opponent will have to address on the campaign trail.
— Steve Wehrly