OPINION: Mike Masterson Comments on Perri Rubeck’s Rebuttal

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The following was written and submitted by Mike Masterson, a Green River resident and member of the Democratic Party.
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Mike Masterson’s opinion piece is in response to an opinion piece submitted by Perri Rubeck, candidate for Sweetwater County Assessor, which can be read here. Rubeck’s piece responded to Dave Divis’ opinion piece. Sweetwater County Assessor Dave Divis’ opinion piece can be read here. Another recent opinion piece on the topic submitted by former Sweetwater County Assessor Pat Drinkle, can be read here.
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It was with some interest that I read Mr. Rubeck’s ‘rebuttal’ to opinion pieces submitted by Dave Divis and Pat Drinkle. Mr. Rubeck said “The ability for people to contest the assessor’s office’s valuations is limited to a thirty day window but never once did you mention this fact in the newspaper when telling people that assessment notices were being sent out.” At the end of the third paragraph of the Assessor’s press release, it reads “If you are in disagreement with the value of your property, you have 30 days from the ‘Date Mailed” to come in and discuss the value with the Assessor.”
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Additionally, on the assessment schedule, in the box at top-right, it reads in part “…any person wishing to contest the assessment of their property shall file a statement with the County Assessor no later than thirty (30) days after the Date Mailed shown on this notice.” In the April 18 issue of the Green River Star, the article contained the comment “Residents disagreeing with their property assessments can discuss the issue with Divis up to 30 days after the sent date on their assessment.” I would be reluctant to cast my vote for a person running for County Assessor that can’t read.
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In this rebuttal, Mr. Rubeck also questioned the increase in valuation for the County. This may be a reading comprehension issue as well. Mr. Rubeck views our county as having a “flat economy” where “Houses are vacant, rental rates are lower, businesses are closing their doors”. Maybe it’s Mr. Rubeck’s business experience that colors this belief. At any rate, Mr. Divis explains how the higher valuation is derived. From the April 18 Rocket-Miner article “Homes are valued by calculating the replacement cost new, subtracting depreciation, and then trending for sales.
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The Wyoming Department of Revenue provides the cost data to all 23 assessors in the state, and there was a slight increase in the cost tables this year. The sales information collected during calendar year 2017 is used to value property for tax year 2018. There was an increase in residential sales prices, which will contribute to an increase in values for the coming year.” It concerns me that Mr. Rubeck thinks that the Assessor could arbitrarily raise or lower valuation – that would violate statutes. These are statutes that Mr. Divis and his staff comply with and understand. Reading comprehension is important here. Mr. Rubeck’s claim that he can cut staff, hours and costs seem to indicate a basic lack of knowledge of the Assessor’s office. Sometimes things look easy until you see the complexities.
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Mr. Rubeck said “Ms. Drinkle calls the political landscape in Sweetwater County a “cess pool” and I completely disagree.” I would think that accusing an elected official of wasting taxpayer money is getting pretty close to a cess pool – his words were “The current assessor’s office is as guilty of overspending tax dollars as any office in this county.” Here, Mr. Rubeck denigrates and insults all of the offices. Perhaps Mr. Rubeck can explain.
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Mr. Rubeck touts his experience as businessman. Maybe he can recall reviewing job applications. Does he hire the one with the least experience, or the one with the most experience?
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I don’t know Perri Rubeck well. What I do know comes from the statutory process for replacing an open position – the County Assessor’s position. The Chairman of the Sweetwater County Democratic Party was charged with submitting three applicants from which the County Commission would appoint the replacement. The Chairman advertised as was required, with a deadline set for the application to be submitted. Perri Rubeck was a day late in submitting his application. Perhaps that was a reading comprehension thing as well. I like to think that it wasn’t simply a disregard for the rules. As a board member of Rolling Green, I have listened to members’ concerns about the hours of the kitchen there.
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Dave Divis is qualified to head this important part of our county government. He appears to be the only qualified candidate to have filed to run.

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