Montezuma County Assessor Scott Davis has resigned.
In a June 14 resignation letter to county commissioners, Davis stated that he was unable to serve because of health reasons and a mistake that he made regarding the Kinder Morgan company.
Davis was elected in 2014 for a four-year term.
In the letter, Davis stated that he had recently “received notice that I had failed to properly notify or respond timely to the Kinder Morgan Petition to the State Board of Assessment Appeals.”
“This will result in decreased revenues for Montezuma County,” Davis wrote. “I feel that this has harmed all the citizens of Montezuma County who have put their trust in me, therefore I cannot in good conscience continue to act as assessor.”
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Davis said his paperwork mistake “was unfortunate,” and he didn’t know how much revenue the mistake might cost the county. Davis said, however, that the mistake was not related to the Supreme Court case with Kinder Morgan and would not impact the court ruling allowing retroactive tax collection from the company.
County commissioner Keenan Ertel and county attorney John Baxter also said they did not know the amount. Baxter said he could not comment further because it was an ongoing legal issue.
Davis added in his letter that “due to some health issues, I do not feel that I am unable (sic) to perform the duties of this position.”
Interim assessor namedOn Monday, deputy assessor Leslie Bugg was appointed by the county commissioners to serve as interim assessor until the 2018 general election. She will take the oath of office next week.
“I think that you will do a very good job,” said commissioner Larry Don Suckla.
Bugg has worked in the assessor’s office for the past 10 years. She has been deputy assessor for the past four years. Before that, Bugg was the office manager for six years.
Davis recommended Bugg for the interim assessor appointment.
“It was total a surprise, and I am ready for the challenge,” she said Monday after accepting the position.
Bugg said that she intends to seek election to the office in the 2018 election.
In his resignation letter, Davis stated that Bugg has the “skills and knowledge necessary to carry the office forward and will do a remarkable job.”
“I want to personally thank all of my staff,” Davis wrote. “They have been wonderful and have tried to help me get through these past months. They are to be commended.”
Days after Davis, resignation, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of Montezuma County on a nine-year tax case with Kinder Morgan involving disputed tariff deductions and retroactive tax assessments due to underreporting. Davis said he was glad to learn about the ruling.
“I’m very happy for the county, and wish I could have been there to spread the good news. It was a lot of work and expense, but now it will pay off,” he said in a phone interview.
On Tuesday, Sara Hughes, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan, said the company had no comment regarding the Supreme Court decision.
Davis predicts the decision will have a ripple effect for the Colorado oil and gas industry and county assessor offices that collect tax revenues.
“Believe me, the industry is paying attention to this,” Davis said. “The lesson for counties is to conduct regular audits of the industry to make sure they are correctly reporting property valuations.”
Because of the complexity of oil and gas tax filings, he advised counties hire a contractor with energy-company audit expertise.
Davis, 68, said retirement has been on his mind, and that health problems made the decision practical.
“I’ll really miss the people,” he said. “But it’s the right time. I’ve been working my whole life, including 23 years with the county assessors office.”