Democrat and incumbent Assessor PK Kaiser won with roughly 56% of the vote as of Nov. 10. Republican Bob Andrews garnered 41% and Libertarian Joshua Lallement received 3%.
The assessor’s office uses what are called “mass appraisals” because there are so many properties in the county but a limited number of assessor’s staff to analyze them.
That means the assessor’s office looks at properties built around the same time with a similar construction style, location, size, age and amenities, and it uses an algorithm to help value them.
For example, the assessor’s office determines the value of residential properties based on data from the sale of the property, said PK Kaiser, the current Arapahoe County assessor.
If a three-bed, two-bath, two-car-garage home is valued at $390,000 and the property was in OK condition, all other things similar, “the data tells us that the next house is also $390,000,” Kaiser said.
With an owner’s permission, the assessor’s office staff may go inside a house if there is any dispute about the property, such as square footage or bed and bath count, for example, Kaiser said.
“We inspect, physically going to the properties, 100% of new constructions,” Kaiser added.
Democratic incumbent PK Kaiser won by a wide margin over Republican Bob Andrews and Libertarian Joshua Lallement in the race to decide who oversees the office that affects property tax collection in Arapahoe County.
Kaiser's victory falls in line with other races in Arpahoe County, with Democrats winning all open races.
As results rolled in on election night, Kaiser said he feels he provided good service to the public during his first term as assessor.
"We were running on our record. We were telling people what we did," said Kaiser, who has touted adding a system that allows people to challenge the county’s assessed value of their home online rather than in person.
Andrews said he felt "complete shock" at results rolled in, showing Kaiser woudl win by a large margin.
"It is truly sad that the people that vote straight ticket instead of researching the candidates," Andrews said.
Democrats won Arapahoe County offices by large leads, reflecting a strong showing for Democrats at the state level.
The party swept the races for Arapahoe sheriff; assessor; treasurer; the official who oversees death investigations, or coroner; the county’s head elections official, or clerk; and the two seats on the county’s elected board of leaders, or commissioners, that were on the ballot this year.
"I want to thank all the people that supported me financially and emotionally and knocked doors and made calls for me," said Andrews, who acknowledged his loss on Facebook.
Andrews made his experience in the real estate industry central to his campaign against Kaiser. Kaiser, who holds multiple master's degrees, says what’s relevant to his job is his knowledge of statistics, economics and finance.
The assessor's job is to establish accurate values of all properties — residential, commercial, agricultural, vacant land and more — in the county, a process meant to ensure that the amount of taxes property owners pay is fair and equitable.
The county assessor’s office itself does not set any tax rate — rather, different local government bodies set the tax rates, and then the rates are applied to each individuals’ property value to determine how much they owe.
For example, county tax is set by the county commissioners, and school district taxes are set by school boards.
Property taxes partly fund the Arapahoe County government, but the majority of the property taxes are distributed in order to fund school districts, fire and library districts, other local entities, and cities and towns, according to a county document.
Kaiser has served in the Colorado Department of Revenue as a tax examiner. He holds a master's degree in business administration in finance and another master's in accounting, plus a master’s in agricultural economics, he said.
After a long collaboration with colleagues and technology staff, the assessor’s office under Kaiser created an online protest option so people wouldn’t have to depend on challenging the county’s assessed value of their home in person, Kaiser said in an earlier interview.
To the county’s knowledge, the assessor’s office did not offer any mechanism of online property protests before Kaiser took office.
Kaiser’s administration also created a map online so people can see how assessed property values have changed near where they live or in other areas.
“They can see their value is fair compared to their neighbors, their city, their county,” Kaiser has said.
He added: “To the best of my knowledge, such transparency tool wasn't offered before” in the county assessor’s office.
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