An Interview with Susan Murphy

I tramp through the courthouse to the small building tucked between it and Hoo Motors. Warm air rushes out at me when I open the door. I catch Elbert County Assessor Susan Murphy on her lunch break. She greets me with a warm smile and an outstretched hand. “Do you mind if my Deputy, Eric Guthrie, sits in?” she asks. Since he has over 300 hours of classes and training, and is her chief analyst, I say, “Sure!”

I enter a tidy office with a stack of documents on the desk, the result of an agricultural survey. She moves them aside while Eric pulls up a chair. Since Susan was the Deputy to the last Assessor, the transition has been smooth. “My main priority is to be a good leader for the office employees,” she says. “I am proud to be part of a team that’s primary purpose is dedicated to serving taxpayers in Elbert County.”

Susan recently celebrated her 12 year anniversary working for the County. She has 5 years of experience in the Treasurer’s department and 7 years of experience in the Assessor’s office. Her strong dedication to serve the public motivated her to obtain her Ad Valorem appraiser license during a very busy 2018 campaign season. The purpose of the assessor’s office is to discover, list, classify and value all property in Elbert County and my goal is to provide fair and equitable valuations for all properties. All Colorado counties revalue all properties within their border every odd numbered year. The valuation of real property in the State of Colorado is specified by Colorado Constitution and State Statutes. Real property is valued based on the local real estate market in Elbert County.  The values that will be listed on the notices of value that will be mailed to all property owners on May 1, 2019 will represent the local real estate market that existed on June 30, 2018. Market sales from 24 months prior to June 30, 2018 will be utilized in discovering the market that existed on June 30, 2018. Elbert County has been delineated into 5 market areas by the assessor’s office based on market influences that effect value.

Her intention for the first quarter is to continue working and complete the reappraisal for the 2019 tax year. Notification of Valuation will be mailed to property owners by May 1. Early projections show that Elbert County’s real estate market has continued to appreciate since the 2017 reappraisal. Due to the continued escalating real estate market in all of Colorado, the residential assessment rate is projected to decrease in 2019.

Susan’s goal is to improve the assessor’s office communication with the public through their website. “I will be working with the IT department to make our website more user-friendly,” she says. “I want the public to be able to interact with us. I will have an open door policy. I am always interested in having a conversation with anyone that has questions regarding your property, property valuation or any other assessment concerns.”

She’s pleased with the efficiency and teamwork in the building and delighted with Eric. “He brings a lot of know-how and expertise,” she says.

When Susan isn’t behind her desk, she’s at home enjoying her family and lending a helping hand to her husband with his ranch chores. She also enjoys sewing, crafting and quilting. She is especially happy when she gets to spend time with her granddaughters!

I shake her hand again on my way out the door. She returns to her desk and the stack of agricultural surveys. I retreat to my car across the snow, confident she has the assessor’s office well in hand.