Republican candidate Dan Tulley, 53, Washington, will challenge incumbent Tom Copeland, 64, Union, who is seeking a second term as Franklin County assessor.
Tulley said his main goal as assessor would be to make sure records are consistent throughout the system
“I deal with records (from the assessor’s office) all the time and the problem I have is that there’s an inconsistency in reporting,” he said. “My goal would strictly be to improve the accurateness and consistency in reporting.”
If elected, Tulley said he would start an ongoing training program to teach consistency when viewing property and in completing written reports.
As a state-certified appraiser, Tulley said Franklin County has never had an assessor with the education, background or experience to teach property valuation or to review work.
“Past assessors have always relied on the staff to be able to be on their own and to know what they’re doing by themselves,” he said.
Tulley has been conducting property valuations since 2001.
“My time in office would be spent getting the records that are currently there updated with accurate information,” he said. “If I can do that, the rest of the system will take care of itself as far as fair valuation is concerned.”
In the past, Tulley has owned a daycare, been in construction and served as a sales representative for a flooring distributor in St. Louis.
Tulley also ran for assessor in 2008.
He is a part of the International Association of Assessing Officers, the Appraisal Institute, Missouri Appraisers Advisory Council, Franklin County Board of Realtors and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
He is a member of St. Francis Borgia Parish and is involved with the Washington Rotary Club, Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Community Emergency Response Team, Habitat for Humanity, the senior riverfront trail day and the Four Rivers Building Trades Advisory Committee. He also is a PSR teacher.
Born and raised in Union, Copeland said his main goal is to continue the accomplishments that he set out to do from the 2008 campaign and the election of 2009.
His first term as Franklin County assessor, Copeland said, wasn’t the easiest.
“In October 2009, our financial status with the state of Missouri changed drastically,” he said. The assessor’s office is reimbursed for the duties that it does in a parcel count. The assessor deals with approximately 72,000 parcels of real estate, plus personal property parcels.
“At that time we were paid $6 per parcel for each one that we reviewed each assessment year (which is a two-year cycle on the odd numbered years),” Copeland explained. “The state cut the parcel from $6 to $4 per parcel, so we lost one-third of our income.”
The funds were cut retroactively, so the office started out in the red, with fewer funds than expected for work already performed.
To stay afloat, Copeland said he had to terminate six positions.
“In the history of Franklin County that I have been able to research, I am the only elected official who has had to terminate six individuals at one time to be able to follow the restraint of our income,” he said.
Ten months later, the amount was again cut to $3.41 and in July, 2011, it was cut to $3 per parcel — which means the office is operating on 50 percent less income and is required to do the same amount of work.
Copeland said he will continue to work with the budget and follow statutes set by the state.
In the past several years, he said he has saved the county money by only sending out impact notices to those who have had value increases, rather than to all 72,000 parcels as it had been done in the past. Instead, Copeland sent out 6,200 and saved some $15,000, he said.
“We’ve cut back on board of equalization hearings by listening to people,” he said. “We have less appeals now than we’ve ever had.”
In 2011, some 450 property owners came in or called to appeal to the board of equalization.
“Through our staff, we worked it down to 105 and we actually only heard 12 appeals and only four were carried into the state of Missouri board of appeals.”
Another area of dollar restraints, Copeland said, is that the office has started using a new computer software program.
“Over the next five years, we are going to save $60,000 in taxpayer revenue in the processing of our data,” he said. The office has been working on the conversion since October 2011.
Copeland has owned Copeland Construction for the past 35 years.
“I’m looking at business as continuing education,” he said. “My background in the construction market has been extremely beneficial to me as the assessor of Franklin County.”
Copeland also is co-owner of Belvia’s Blooms Flower Shop and Scoops ’n More Ice Cream Store, which he owns with his wife Karen.
All three businesses are family operated.
Copeland is a member of the Church of Life Nazarene in Union and a member of the Union Rotary Club.
He has been married for 44 years and has four children and 10 grandchildren.
The winner of the primary election will face off against Liberterian candidate Robert Trokey, Sullivan, and Democratic candidate Angela J. Beckett, Union, in November.