My name is Cindy White Bulloch. My father was Iron County assessor from 1963-1978 so I first started thinking about being the Iron County Assessor in grade school when we talked about our parents’ jobs. Then again, while working in the assessor’s office, I thought about running for assessor. At that time, running for the office was not in my, nor the county’s, best interest. With the current assessor’s decision to retire at the end of this term, and my children all being out of the house, the time is right for me and for the county. The decision was not taken lightly. I enjoy my work at State Bank of Southern Utah and I would be happy there for a long time. But progress always involves risk – you cannot steal second base and keep your foot on first. It is time for some changes in the Assessor’s Office and those changes may be more easily effectuated by someone outside the office.
Why have you decided to live in Iron County?
I was born in Summit and attended elementary and high school in Parowan. I left the area for almost fifteen years but chose to move back here to raise my children and be closer to my family. The people in Iron County are so warm and caring and I chose to raise my family in that environment.
What is your favorite thing about living in Iron County?
My favorite thing about living in Iron County is the people. Yes, I enjoy the mountains, the seasons – especially fall with the crisp mornings, and frost on the wire fence early on a February morning, but I love the people. The sense of community in this area is remarkable. It’s comforting to know the Jolley’s will always be in front of the store during the 4th of July Parade, to know the first Thursday of the month is horse auction, to know the best fireworks are during the Summer Games and to know my mom still makes Sunday dinner. Knowing those types of traditions are alive and will continue in families throughout Iron County are the best part of living here.
What is your professional/ educational background?
My early education was at Parowan Elementary and Parowan High School. I attended college at Utah State University in Logan majoring in Business Administration and California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) in San Luis Obispo, California majoring in AgriBusiness.
I have been a Certified Residential Appraiser since 2004. Previous to that I was a Licensed Residential Appraiser and an Ad Valorem appraiser. An Ad Valorem appraiser is a designation given by the State Tax Commission when appraising for tax purposes; I received that designation and will require no additional classes to retain that designation.
I have taken classes in Farmland Assessment (FAA), Land valuation and analysis, and Ad Valorem (literally means for value but used to mean value for assessments as opposed to fee appraisals which are used for market transactions) offered by the State of Utah. I have taken college classes in statistics and advanced math.
I will, prior to taking office in January, attend courses offered by the State Tax Commission in development and use of personal property schedules, an assessment / sale ratio seminar, property tax administration seminar and assessor’s school.
What do you think are the most important skills for a county assessor to possess?
The assessor much possess an innate ability to listen to people’s concerns and if necessary diffuse hostile behavior. Unfortunately, people rarely come to the assessor’s office unless they are upset about something or have a question. It is important to let people express frustration without letting it escalate. It is also important to remember the assessor is a public servant who answers to the people of Iron County. It is as much the assessor’s duty to listen to people and explain the valuation process as it is to accurately value the property in the first place.
It is also important to be able to stand-up for what is right. That may include standing up to the legislature on proposed bills which would negatively affect Iron County; that might include standing up to the commission if they are proposing changes with which I disagree; that might also include standing up to a tax payer if they are requesting unreasonable consideration. Being married to a Bulloch, I know when to stand my ground and when to offer a compromise.
What do you see as your top priorities if you are elected?
The main responsibility of the Iron County Assessor is to fairly and accurately assess property in the county. That is my top priority. I also plan to thoroughly look at the sales ratio study and determine the affect of short sales and foreclosures rather than automatically disallow those sales.
The assessor’s office is comprised of a knowledgeable staff that does a great job in fulfilling their duties. I will be asking them for their suggestions in making the office more efficient in the appraisal function, motor vehicle function and personal property function.
The County Assessor works with and directs a whole team of assessors, what kind of leadership skills or experience do you have?
In 2007, I was appointed by the Utah Division of Real Estate to be on the Appraisal Review Committee. As a member of this committee I review appraisals for candidates who wish to become licensed or certified appraisers and then make recommendations to the Board as to their experience and qualifications and whether or not the candidate possesses the experience to be an appraiser. I am still on this committee.
I am a past Secretary for the Utah Chapter of the International Association of Assessing Officers. This is an elected position, voted on by the assessors and staff from all counties in the state. I held this position for two years.
I am a six-year former member of the Parowan Library Board where I served as the Chair for two years.
I am a member of the Color Country Toastmasters.
Sometimes people have disputes or complaints about how their taxes were assessed, how will you deal with these complaints and disputes?
If the complaint is with the value of the property or how that value was derived I will listen to their concerns or complaints. Often, people just want to be heard. If there is an error in the calculation I will correct the error. If there is are misunderstandings or confusion I will take as much time as necessary to explain the process. If we are unable to come to an agreement about the property value I will respectfully explain the Board of Equalization Process. I believe the assessor has a duty to the business community and the citizens of Iron County to listen to their concerns and help them understand the entire valuation process.
The County Assessor has to be a certified appraiser, how important do you feel it is for the county assessor to be doing actual appraisals?
An appraisal can be a written report or even an oral appraisal. An appraisal is an opinion of value. The county assessor’s office does appraisals. The appraisals done by the assessor’s office and those done for a bank are vastly different but both report market value. The vast number of properties which much be valued each year by the assessor’s office makes their process broader whereas a “bank appraisal” is more in-depth but takes much longer.
Having worked as both an appraiser for the assessor’s office, which relies more of the cost approach, and my experience as a bank or “fee” appraiser, which relies more heavily on the market approach, gives me a greater understanding of the intricacies of property values in Iron County.
During the past few years the number of foreclosures and short sales seems to have increased, what influence do you think these factors should have on property values?
The number of short sales and foreclosures has had a negative effect on all property values. All property must compete in the market whether it is an arms-length transaction or a distressed sale. The distressed sales are generally lower than the arms-length transactions but all values are affected.
How do you think properties without many other comparable properties in the county should be assessed?
Using the best comparables available; using older sales and making a “time” adjustment; using a cost approach; or, in the case of commercial property, income approach. Sales in competing neighborhoods are used when there are no sales in the immediate neighborhood. I have to deal with the limited number of comparable sales in my appraisal duties at the bank - it definitely makes the process more difficult but not impossible.
Some places use different methods for determining property taxes, do you think we should be pursuing any of these other methods?
I am not running with an agenda to change the property tax structure outlined by the Utah Constitution. If the legislature determines there is a better method for determining property taxes I will support and follow that decision.
Why should we vote for you?
I bring a large base of knowledge to the office. I have worked in the public and private sector. I have worked in the assessor’s office and wish to continue the positive things done in the office but also think there are changes which need to be made.
I believe, as the assessor, I work for the Citizens of Iron County. I will follow the law and statutes outlined by the Utah Constitution and Utah law but I am responsible to the people. I will listen to each and every one of you and take whatever time required to insure you understand the process and your questions are answered.
What is the best way for people to learn more about you?
You can call my home 435/477-3831 or my cell 435/233-0314. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you can view my Facebook page, CindyWhiteBullochforIronCountyAssessor .