The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Candidates for Pulaski County Assessor

  • Pulaski County voters will have three options for the Republican seat in the county assessor race when they go to the polls Aug. 5.
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  • Pulaski County voters will have three options for the Republican seat in the county assessor race when they go to the polls Aug. 5.
    There will be three Republicans vying for the position and one Democrat.
    Kim Henson-Skaggs, the only Democrat running, is the incumbent in the race. Daniel Whittle, Larry Southard, and Pat Fincher will be competing for the Republican seat this August who will face Henson-Skaggs this November.
    *The Daily Guide attempted to contact Pat Fincher multiple times through email and phone calls and Fincher declined to respond.
    Kim Skaggs-Henson
    Democrat, incumbant
    Current Occupation: Pulaski County Assessor
    Education : Crocker R-II Graduate, 1990; Certified Real Estate Appraiser; Continuing Education Courses for both professions.
    Job History: Pulaski County Assessor’s Office, 1993-current; Deputy Assessor 1996-2013; Appointed Assessor by Governor Nixon July 2013.
    Years lived in Pulaski County: Lifelong Resident (42 years)
    What qualities and experience make you the best candidate in this race?
    I began working the Assessor’s Office in 1993 under my predecessor, Roger Harrison. I was promoted to Deputy Assessor in 1996 & served in that capacity until April 2013. Upon Roger’s sudden passing, I was appointed Assessor by the Pulaski County Commission and later by Governor Jay Nixon.
    With over 21 years of experience, I am the right candidate with the right experience. I know that stability, accountability & an open door policy is important in maintaining the integrity of the office. I work hands-on everyday & I know every facet of the office. I still continue to do the job I did prior to becoming Assessor as well as performing the duties of being the Assessor.
    I’m familiar with Pulaski County & study current real estate trends daily. I became a licensed real estate appraiser in 2005. I’m continually furthering my education with classes designed specifically for the real estate market.
    What are the duties of the position you seek?
    The primary function of the Assessor is to discover, list & value all real & personal property within the county for ad valorem tax purposes.
    As Assessor, I’m responsible for overseeing this process & making sure that each one is completed in accordance with the law & in a timely manner.
    It is also my duty to maintain an efficient office with accurate records that are available to the public. As Assessor, I’m involved in every facet of the office from day to day operations to operating within a balanced budget. I assure that assessments are fair & equal for all taxpayers in Pulaski County. If they have a concern, I have a concern.
    Page 2 of 5 - The Assessor is critical in maintaining a stable tax base for taxing entities while being fair to the taxpayer.
    Why do you want to be Pulaski County Assessor?
    I want to continue to serve Pulaski County as its Assessor because it has literally been my life for the past 21 years. It is the only job I’ve ever really known and I know it well. My experience in the Assessor’s Office cannot be matched by any of the other candidates.
    I take pride in my work. I was able to save taxpayer dollars by continuing to do the same work that I’ve done for the past 21 years while still performing the duties of Assessor.
    I have complete confidence in the job that I do. I understand the laws that I’m required to operate under and I use a common sense approach. I understand that not every situation is black and white. I listen to your concerns & I determine if there’s a remedy. I want to continue to do that for you.
    Do you have professional experience that will help you in this role?
    My experience has been hands-on for the past 21 years. I have performed every duty required in the Assessor’s Office at some time during those years. There is no single role in the office that I could not step in & perform if needed.
    My certification as a real estate appraiser is very beneficial. I received my license in 2005. I keep it on inactive status because I do not want it to be perceived as a conflict of interest. The Assessor’s Office uses a different approach to value than fee appraisers. I want to keep the two separate. However, the knowledge has been extremely helpful & continued education is required.
    I cannot emphasize the importance of experience in the Assessor’s Office enough. It has taken me 21 years to build my career & gain the knowledge. That is something that cannot be replaced.
    What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the Assessor’s Office in the next few years and how do you plan to approach those issues?
    There are some challenges headed my way. The decline in the local economy is having an impact on commercial property values. I study local sales information daily. With fewer soldiers and their families leaving the military base, a lot of local businesses are suffering. As Assessor, it is my job to examine the value we have placed on the property & determine if it’s still fair. This is a very time consuming task for commercial properties & experience in knowing what you’re looking at is vital.  
    Page 3 of 5 - Budget concerns are always a challenge. Funding for Assessor’s Offices’ statewide has drastically declined over the past several years. Upcoming years will be no exception. With my experience, I know where the money is needed & where it’s really not. I was able to eliminate my previous position within the office, thus, saving money.
    The last challenge I see for the Assessor’s Office is bringing the office up to date on technology. We have updated our current computer systems & we are working on getting all of our programs up to date. We have updated our GIS website that allows you see our aerial photography as well as property information. This service is provided free of charge. We are currently in the process of updating our real estate program that will improve our efficiency tremendously & in the beginning stages of implementing e-filing for personal property assessments.
    Larry Southard
    Current Occupation: Real Estate
    Developer, Farmer, Landlord
    Education: B.S. Construction Technology, Southwest Missouri State, Minor - Military
    Job History: Self employed, Real Estate Developer, Farmer, Residential Rentals
    Years lived in Pulaski County: 50 years
    What qualities and experience make you the best candidate in this race?
    For over 30 years I have been actively involves in the real estate business. Whether I am developing real estate, farming, or renting homes and apartments. I have always kept up with current values of real estate. Property values constantly change going both up and down in value. Knowledge of the real estate market can not just be taught in class or be learned in a few months time. Proper knowledge of the market values of real estate requires years of time to learn. I already possess the knowledge to be the Pulaski County Assessor. There will be no learning curve for me if I am elected.
    What are the duties of the position you seek?
    The proper value assessment of real estate as well as personal property are the duties of the County Assessor. However, the values always change.
    Why do you want to be Pulaski County Assessor?
    I am a logical choice to be the County Assessor based on my knowledge and experience of our real estate market. If is my plan to correct the expensive values that are placed on our real estate.
    Do you have professional experience that will help you in this role?
    I have over 30 years of knowledge and experience in the real estate business. I also have a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Technology to go along with my years of on the job training.
    Page 4 of 5 - What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the Assessor's office in the next few years and how to you plan to approach those issues?
    Because our real estate values are down all of the property values will have to be reassessed to lower our taxes to match current downscaled real estate values. Cutting taxes will be time consuming.
    Daniel Whittle  
    Occupation: Project Estimator
    Education: High School Diploma/ Honor Grad from Electrical Trades at Waynesville Technical Academy
    Job history:  I currently work as a Project Estimator for a Local Construction Co. I have estimated projects as large as 8.3 million dollars with very short deadlines. I also own and manage a Rental Corporation, where I perform all purchases, maintenance, and up keep on all of the Corporations properties. This has given me the ability to precisely assess the values at real market costs instead of inflated markets.
    Years lived in Pulaski County: 34
    What qualities and experience make you the best candidate in this race?  
    I am a honest, hardworking individual with deep rooted concerns for our citizens in Pulaski County to survive the economic changes that our county is bound to face with a reduction of our military resources. I am seeking this position with the full intent to gain the respect of all of the citizens and to insure the success of our County.
    What are the duties of the position you seek?
    Locate and identify the ownership of all taxable property in Pulaski County
    Determine the taxability of all property.
    Determine the reappraisal of property when it changes ownership.
    Determine the reappraisal of property that undergoes new construction.
    Annually assess all real estate in accordance with the Missouri Constitution.
    Annually assess all taxable personal property at its fair market value.
    Determine and apply all legal exemptions.
    Surrender an accurate assessment roll to the Auditor’s Office prior to July 1st.
    Why do you want to be Pulaski County Assessor?
    I want the citizens of Pulaski County to have a respectful outlook for the Assessor’s office. It is important to me to operate an office that is fully supported by an individual that is willing to make a stand for the people. Our Economic growth within this area has slowed down dramatically and has impacted our housing market drastically. Our assessed values need to be more accurate based on the real value markets, in some cases that means a reduction and in some cases an increase.
    Page 5 of 5 - Do you have professional experience that will help you in this role?
    (Yes) I have the experience of estimating the values of multi-million dollar projects with precise accuracy. I have over 6 years of experience estimating and have had extensive expert training at conferences throughout the nation. I have attended many training seminars by being a member of the Builders Association which is a Nationwide organization to further educate the construction standards abroad. I also have the experience and knowledge of being a leader, which is a large part of being the Assessor. I have always been respected by the way I am able to provide productivity and stability throughout a work place.
    What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the assessor's office in the next few years and how to do you plan to approach those issues?
    The biggest challenge faced by the Assessor’s position within the years to come is keeping citizens satisfied with their assessed values. The most important way to keep this satisfaction is for the Assessor to be available to interact with the citizens and to keep an open door policy within the Assessor’s office to talk about the underlying issues that the citizens have. It is known that the County operates from budget that is produced by the tax payers. Although everyone is for reducing the assessed tax rates, it is simply unreasonable to reduce the rates below the operating levels that is needed to maintain our County. Funds are tight for everyone and all organizations in today’s economic crunch. There is a huge concern within our county for property owners and organizations that have a fear of making improvements to their dwellings or businesses due to the nature of the assessed values to immediately rise, which will result in a lower bottom line dollar amount to survive on. I want to encourage homeowners and business owners to make improvements to their properties in order to create better surroundings for our communities and our children.