Summit County: Breakstone wins another term as assessor
summit daily news
Democrat Beverly Breakstone held off a pair of challengers to retain the Summit County Assessor’s office for a second term.
Republican Lindsay Backas and independent Erik Chapin vied for the position, but could not unseat the 63-year old Frisco resident. Breakstone won 43 percent of the vote, Backas garnered 36 percent and Chapin netted 21 percent with 18 of 19 districts reporting at press time.
“I’m happy to continue the next four years improving efficiency in the office while still getting the job done at a high level,” Breakstone said Tuesday night.
This year’s election marked the first time since 1986 that the position was challenged. Breakstone said she was surprised to have one opponent, let alone two.
“Unfortunately one of my opponents ran a negative campaign, but she didn’t prevail, so I am pleased,” Breakstone said.
Breakstone was elected in 2006 after 20 years in the mortgage industry. Last year her office handled a record 6,800 appeals, but at a cost of $68,000 in overtime wages to finish the process in the required 30 days.
Breakstone’s office identified revenue loss for the county through vacation rentals by owner. Her discovery eventually led to a statewide crackdown on illegal property rentals and even caused the state Legislature to redefine websites as agents required to disclose property information for tax purposes.
Breakstone pledged to increase office efficiency in her next term. One way of accomplishing this goal, she said, is to work toward using paperless technology. The process of printing, paying postage and mailing documents to property owners costs about $25,000 annually. The office may also use a website like picometry.com to track changes to satellite imagery to ensure properties are not being altered without the proper permits.
Blue River Mayor Lindsay Backas led her town through a series of improvements including two new bridges, a new town hall and expansion of sewer and natural gas services. Backas, a Republican, alleged residents wanted more information from the 6,800 appeals filed in 2009 and vowed to improve public communication from her office. She could not be reached for comment.
Chapin owns Treeline Appraisals in Breckenridge and said he was disappointed with the result, but that it was a “worthwhile experience.” He said he wasn’t sure if he would run again in 2014.
“I have a job and own a company, so I’m going to stick with that and see how it goes,” he said.
SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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