What’s next for winners of primary? | SummitDaily.com
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What’s next for winners of primary?

Jane Stebbins

County treasurer Larry Gilliland wants innovation to be key in his last four years in office

BRECKENRIDGE – Larry Gilliland is looking forward to four years of innovation.

The Republican incumbent was re-elected to the position as the county treasurer, defeating county assistant finance director Marty Ferris by only 26 votes.

The votes will be certified as official Friday afternoon. His name will appear uncontested on the November ballot, and he will take office Jan 14.

Among his goals is to implement a system that will allow property owners to pay their taxes over the Internet and the telephone. He doesn’t, however, see the return of credit cards to pay property taxes, primarily because there’s no way to charge the taxpayer the fee assessed by the financing company that issues the credit card.

Secondly, he’d like there to be better integration of the treasurer’s office and finance department.

“But that’s a budgetary issue,” he said. “That’s not one of these things we can say, “poof’ and make it happen.”

The county updated its computer system in 2000, but budgetary constraints prevented the finance department from obtaining the software needed to allow the two departments to “talk” to one another.

He doesn’t, however, feel the same need-to-communicate should be put in place between his office and the clerk and recorder’s office.

“We have a first-class computer system; it just doesn’t talk very easily to the rest of the departments,” Gilliland said. “Is that necessarily all bad? No, that’s not all bad. I don’t think it’s my purview as an elected official to step out and advise or counsel taxpayers on the assessment process. They need to go to the assessor, who has specific training in those issues and have a whole set of statutes that govern their work. It’d be nice to have one-stop shopping, but statutes are written so each of us have a specific set of statutes we’re responsible for, and they don’t overlap.”

Gilliland said he’s still tired after the elections but happy he’s back in office.

“I’m elated,” he said. “People I’ve talked to are very pleased I’m re-elected. I’m very charged up to serve another four years.”

He credits non-partisan support for his re-election to office.

“The Democrats think I’m doing a good job – an excellent job,” he said. “They think, “Why turn out someone unnecessarily when we think he’s doing a good job?’

Gilliland’s next term will be his last; term limits preclude him from running again. He has served in the position for 16 years. In four years, he plans to work with his wife Mary Ellen and focus their energy on their book-publishing company.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.

Big plans ahead for Joanne Richardson as coroner

SUMMIT COUNTY – Joanne Richardson has big dreams, but she’s aware it will take awhile before she can bring them to fruition.

Richardson was voted into the county coroner’s position in the Republican primary election Tuesday, beating out incumbent Dave Joslin by 90 votes.

The votes will be certified as official Friday afternoon. Her name will appear uncontested on the November ballot, and she will take office Jan 14.

She’s already outlining her goals.

“I want to computerize the office,” she said. “I realize that with the county budget crisis, I’ll be looking for alternative funding sources, but it needs to be done.”

Computers would enable her to keep track of records, write reports and download digital photos.

“I don’t know what else needs to be done until I get access to the office,” she said. “There are a lot of equipment issues I need to look into.”

Richardson would like to obtain a vehicle to transfer bodies to funeral homes but realizes that, too, could take some time. Currently, Joslin has an agreement with a removal service in Idaho Springs to bring bodies to the funeral home there.

If Richardson is able to obtain a vehicle, she hopes to more equitably distribute the bodies to include the new funeral home in Breckenridge.

“Right now, it’s a pipe dream,” Richardson said of the vehicle. “It may not happen overnight. Grant money is getting harder to get. It’ll be an uphill battle. I have to do the little things that I can do first.”

Among them is updating a policy manual for the department, including listing minimum qualifications for the coroner and the deputy. She also plans to educate the community on a variety of issues related to the coroner’s office.

“Everything from the importance of house addresses to helmet safety, seatbelt safety, drinking and driving lectures and living wills,” she said.

“I want to get out in the community and get people to understand they need to be thinking about this stuff. If you write a will dividing up your possessions, why don’t people write out what they want to happen to their body?”

Richardson enjoys trends, and hopes to glean from past records the locations of dangerous intersections and make changes to alleviate problems there. But details will have to wait at least until the end of the year.

“What I’d like to do and what I will do, I won’t know until I’m there,” she said. “And just because there’s a budget crisis, doesn’t mean I can’t look for other funding sources for things I want to do.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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