Updated Results: Democrat Kaiser keeps wide lead in Arapahoe County assessor race

Incumbent assessor highlighted data transparency during campaign

Posted

In the race to decide who oversees the office that affects property tax collection in Arapahoe County, the Democratic incumbent, PK Kaiser, has amassed a large lead over Republican Bob Andrews and Libertarian Joshua Lallement, according to unofficial results just after 4 p.m. Nov. 9.

Kaiser held 57% of the vote to Andrews’ 40% and Lallement’s roughly 3%. Kaiser held about 106,500 votes to Andrews’ 75,400 and Lallement’s 4,900. These are early results and election officials continue to count ballots.

Kaiser felt he provided good service to the public during his first term as assessor, he said in an interview as results rolled in.

"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 felt "complete shock" at the results on Election Night, when Kaiser had already pulled ahead 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.

"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.

Lallement, a Littleton resident, spoke out against the concept of taxation in general, hoping voters would gravitate to his views about the role of government.

Andrews and Kaiser both live in Aurora.

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.

Focus on experience

Through the decades, Andrews racked up 40 years of real estate experience, of which 25 were in the appraisal field — something he says sets him apart from Kaiser, the current county assessor.

As a person makes moves to purchase a home, the involved bank will ask an independent party to inspect the home and compare it to other homes in the area to estimate its value based on factors such as square footage, amenities and location. That’s an “appraiser” process in the private sector, according to Andrews.

The county assessor’s office, on the other hand, 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. 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 residential properties, that algorithm is based on the price at which similar homes in the area are sold, according to the county.

Andrews says the underlying principles are the same in how private appraisals and county assessments arrive at their values, arguing he has the experience needed to serve as assessor.

Andrews criticized Kaiser for not having acquired an appraisal license until he had already been in office.

Andrews’ appraisal license is the “Licensed Appraiser” level, Andrews said.

The "Licensed Appraiser" credential allows a person to appraise certain residential properties that have a transaction value of less than $1 million. It doesn’t allow for appraising all types of property, according to the state Division of Real Estate’s webpage.

Kaiser’s appraiser license is a type called “ad valorem,” a level of licensure only used for appraiser employees of county tax assessment offices, according to the webpage.

Kaiser said county assessors don’t need to have any license and that many of the county appraisers in his office register with general appraisal licenses.

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.

To the county’s knowledge, the assessor’s office did not offer any mechanism of online property protests before Kaiser took office.

Lallement drives for Uber Eats, a food delivery service. He worked for about 11 years at Shepherd of the Hills church and school, performing maintenance. He serves as the communications director, or spokesperson, for the Libertarian Party of Arapahoe County.

While he does not have experience in the real estate industry, he says his job has given him a vantage point into the local economy.

The assessor’s office usually can’t drastically affect property owners’ tax bills, but Lallement generally supports reducing property taxes.

“It’s not necessarily what I would do — it’s what I think should happen. And hopefully enough people get behind it, the county, we can do it,” Lallement told Colorado Community Media in an earlier interview.

Eye on access

Andrews’ campaign website said: “If elected, I will be accessible to the taxpayers by re-instituting the ‘walk-in’ appointment policy.”

He took issue with a sign at an Arapahoe County building that recently said the assessor’s office was only open by appointment — Andrews noted that the county treasurer’s office was open for walk ins. Andrews provided a photo of the county sign outlining the policies, which also says the clerk and recorder’s office required appointments at the time.

(The county treasurer is Republican Sue Sandstrom, and the clerk and recorder is Democrat Joan Lopez.)

Kaiser said the office was not fully open earlier in the pandemic when there were restrictions but that the office is currently open for walk ins.

Regarding the photo of the sign, Kaiser said the issue was raised, “and I believe the same day or next day, they changed the sign. It was not imposed by us.”

The county assessor’s webpage currently says: “For in-person services, walk-ins welcome, but appointments recommended.”

Election results will be updated on election night, Nov. 8, and, as necessary, on Nov. 9 or later. Check back for the latest results.

 

Arapahoe County, Colorado, assessor, election 2022, results, Bob Andrews, PK Kaiser, Joshua Lallement

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.