Midterm voter guide: Larimer County assessor, surveyor, sheriff, coroner

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Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Alex Hasenkamp, Alex Wilson, and Ivy Secrest

Positions for the Larimer County assessor, surveyor, sheriff and coroner are up for election on the November ballot.

According to the Larimer County assessor webpage, “the county assessor is responsible for valuing all real and personal property, including mobile homes, residential and commercial properties and agricultural land for property tax purposes.” The assessor also ensures taxpayers pay fair and justifiable taxes based on the value of property.

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A county surveyor’s primary duty is to organize property boundaries throughout the county in which they reside. They must ensure this information is accurate for engineers, property owners, city planners and county officials. The surveyor has many other jobs, including ensuring new structures are up to code, identifying different areas that might be affected by weather or disaster, scheduling construction projects and establishing different boundaries for GPS.

The county sheriff is elected every four years. Each new sheriff must complete a minimum of 80 hours of training after their election or appointment, ensuring they keep the county safe and follow the proper protocols.

The sheriff is also the fire warden of the county they reside in during wildfires. Additionally, they are in charge of prisoners and supervise them, including their transportation to correctional facilities. Each sheriff must keep the peace within their county by suppressing riots and unlawful assemblies.

The coroner and the Office of the Larimer County Coroner/Medical Examiner are responsible for investigating all sudden or unexpected deaths in the county. According to the Larimer County coroner’s webpage, “this includes death while a person is in custody or within 24 hours of being admitted to a hospital, as well as all fatal traffic deaths, homicides and suicides.”

Assessor candidates

David Eisenbraun 

David Eisenbraun is running for county assessor for the Republican Party. 

Eisenbraun received his bachelor’s in environmental design, landscape architecture and horticulture from North Dakota State University. He received his master’s of urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado Denver. 

Eisenbraun aims to find mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone; he believes there is an insufficient level of trust in the assessor’s office and is looking to correct those matters.

“Right now, there’s a lack of transparency and record lows of dissatisfaction with both internal staff and the external public,” Eisenbraun said. “I’m looking to provide very data-proving results through the assessment process.” 

Eisenbraun wants to provide fair services and offer easy and simple solutions for the public.

“We want to promote all of those tools that citizens use to make sure that they’re not being taken advantage of,” Eisenbraun said. 

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Eisenbraun thinks it’s important to have the younger generation get involved in positions of power.

“We are continuously dissatisfied with the results, so we get to be the change,” Eisenbraun said. 

Bob Overbeck

Democrat Bob Overbeck is the current county assessor. His website says he is “working to ensure accuracy and advocating for fairness and transparency for the citizens of Larimer County.” 

According to an interview with the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Overbeck has experience as a member of the National Futures Association and a commodity trading adviser since 1983. In that same interview, he explained his reasons for joining the race. “I am running for county assessor to ensure that property valuations are done right the first time,” Overbeck said.

On his website, his top two objectives are accurate property valuations and a decreased number of appeals. 

Surveyor candidate

Tom Donnelly

Tom Donnelly is running for reelection unopposed for the Larimer County surveyor position. He is running for the Republican Party.

Donnelly was previously the Larimer County commissioner. During the 2016 commissioner race, Donnelly was endorsed by the Loveland Reporter-Herald, the Fort Collins Coloradoan and the Estes Park Trail-Gazette, according to posts on his Facebook. 

“As a father, I know that housing affordability is a challenge now but also a battle for the future of our communities,” Donnelly said on Facebook. “That’s why I’m proud to have been named the 2016 ‘Housing Hero’ by the Ft. Collins Board of Realtors.” 

Sheriff candidate

John Feyen

Republican John Feyen is running for Larimer County sheriff unopposed. He is endorsed by the current county sheriff and many Fraternal Order of Police members as well as a few other law enforcement personnel.

According to his website, Feyen’s commitment to the community consists of “protecting your rights,” “serving Larimer County,” “leading with integrity” and “upstream problem solving.”  

“I’m also thankful that Sheriff Justin Smith has given me early access to the Sheriff’s Office so I can start having transition conversations with the current leadership and staff,” Feyen said in a Facebook post

Coroner candidates

Stephen Hanks

Stephen Hanks is a veteran and former death investigator as well as a former deputy coroner in Larimer County.

Hanks is looking to collaborate on a large scale with the broader community and other Larimer County government offices to build a safer community.

With a specific focus on suicide awareness and resources for mourning families, Hanks is looking to combat larger issues with compassion and data-driven research. 

“We’ll go more in depth into analysis and trends of the data,” Hanks said. “So having the data accessibility is one important prong of that aspect, and the other part is community engagement and advocacy.”

Hanks is also looking to use data to find solutions to these larger issues. 

“When we look at suicide awareness and partnering with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention on different things, there are so many groups; you don’t just want to lump everybody into the one group,” Hanks said. “When you’re battling suicide awareness, we need information on veterans (and) we need better information on the LGBTQIA+ communities so we can make sure everything’s documented appropriately.”

Matt Canaga

Matt Canaga is a veteran and Larimer County’s current chief deputy coroner, and he has several years of experience in the field.

Backed by the former coroner, Dr. James Wilkerson, Canaga’s priorities are mental health partnership, training, collaboration with Larimer County institutions, a family-first model of care, data sharing and transparency and a focus on public health.

He is particularly proud of his efforts to make death data accessible to the public and to secure the safety of his staff during the pandemic. He hopes to continue his effort with mental health care if he is elected coroner. 

Canaga has an interest specifically in working on ensuring the mental health of working professionals.

“Last year I investigated the murder of a child, and I almost quit,” Canaga said. “I realized not only do we need care after a critical incident, but we also need preventative care.” 

Canaga is also working on developing a system to ensure that data regarding death and afflicted demographics is more readily available so the county can work toward combating larger issues, such as the fentanyl crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. His work in the office has instilled the value of treating all human beings that enter the morgue with respect. 

“I installed a sign above our door that said, ‘Seek truth with dignity and respect,’” Canaga said. To him, that means no matter why or how someone ends up in their morgue, they are treated with dignity and respect. Canaga encourages constituents to visit his Facebook page.

Reach Alex Hasenkamp, Alex Wilson and Ivy Secrest at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian.