La Plata County treasurer to seek re-election

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 5:37 PM

La Plata County Treasurer Allison Aichele announced Friday she will seek re-election this November.

Aichele, a Democrat, said she has upgraded the office to be more efficient and effective using streamlined processes and technology.

Aichele was elected to a four-year term in 2014. She defeated Bobby Lieb, who had left his seat on the county commission to seek the treasurer's position. Ed Murray, the incumbent county treasurer at the time, decided to retire at the end of 2014.

During her term, Aichele said she has improved cash-handling processes and reduced overtime costs by the equivalent of one full-time person. She also said she has improved customer service by implementing multiple new ways to pay property taxes, including allowing credit cards.

Similar-sized counties average almost twice as many employees in their treasurer's office compared with La Plata County, she said in her news release announcing her candidacy.

In addition, she said in a telephone interview she has added six new levels of fraud protections that make the funds managed by the office more secure.

The loss in revenue from declining receipts from property taxes in the natural gas industry, she said, is something the office sees every day.

"It will affect every single taxing entity," she said.

Colorado's treasurers are constrained by state law and county policy as to how they can invest collected tax revenue, and Aichele said there is little treasurers can do to improve the rate of return on their investments.

She said she increased the return of the office by $300,000 in 2017 by keeping more collected tax revenue in what is similar to an interest-bearing savings account and limiting the amount of money kept in an account similar to a no-interest checking account.

County treasurers in Colorado can only invest in high-quality bonds limited to a five-year term.

"Three hundred thousand dollars is a drop in the bucket compared with an $80 million budget," she said.