BURLEY — Three candidates are seeking the Republican bid for the Cassia County assessor’s office in the May primary election.
The candidates are Martin K. Adams, 59, Darby Hawkes, 47, and Jay Lenkersdorfer, 60.
All three men live in Burley.
Assessor Dwight Davis is set to retire.
Lenkersdorfer and his wife have four children and have lived in Mini-Cassia for 26 years. Hawkes and his wife also have four children and have lived in the Burley area for 16 years. Adams was born in Oakley and is a Cassia County native.
Adams is the Cassia County chief deputy assessor.
“That’s why I’m stepping up to run for the office,” Adams said. “I think experience matters.”
Adams is a certified appraiser, has 15 years of assessor experience, and 12 of those years have been in the Cassia County office.
He was active in high school government and is active in church duties.
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Adams said many of the county elected officials do a variety of things, but the assessor’s job is focused and performs only a few tasks that are dictated by state law.
If a candidate does not have previous experience and the certification to perform the assessor’s duties, it would take them a full year to complete the process.
One issue that faces the office, he said, is they have to keep assessed property values within 10 percent of the current market and inflation has been driving assessed values up, he said.
Another issue is the current rate of growth, which keeps staff very busy.
Lenkersdorfer has owned businesses all of his life, including owning several rental properties.
He is the owner-publisher of The Weekly Mailer.
Lenkersdorfer has a degree in journalism with an emphasis on business and Spanish.
He served on the Burley City Council from 2008 to 2012.
He said the assessor’s office is full time so if elected he will sell his share of The Weekly Mailer to his business partner or to a third party.
He will make the office more user-friendly by extending hours and staying open during the lunch hour.
His experience in journalism will also help him educate residents on property taxes, he said.
He also wants to notify voters when measures are up for election that will impact their property taxes.
“People should vote for me because I can affect change in that office so when people come in it is a better experience,” Lenkersdorfer said.
Hawkes attended the American Institute of Dental Technology and recently sold a dental lab that he owned for five years and worked at for 10 years.
“I was ready for a career change,” Hawkes said about selling his business to a larger company.
Hawkes said he researched the assessor’s office and believes he would be a good fit for it.
“I like being around and serving people,” he said.
Hawkes has been involved in ecclesiastical leadership and participated in a parent-school committee designed to formulate a five-year plan. He is active in youth sports and served on the Idaho Dental Lab board for many years. He has also been a unit leader for the Boy Scouts of America.
“I am running for this office because I think it’s a good opportunity to be a part of the community we live in,’ Hawkes said. “I want to contribute positive change.”
He will also help keep Burley, Idaho conservative, he said.
Hawkes said although he is for growth and change is good, it needs to be handled correctly.
“I think the things I stand for align with a lot of people in the community,” Hawkes said about why people should vote for him.
He can provide good customer service with his people skills, his leadership and his ability to listen.
“In government, we work for the people not the other way around,” Lenkersdorfer said.
Lenkersdorfer will lead the office team in providing better customer service and in educating residents about their property taxes, he said.
Adams said the assessor is chosen by vote, although in order to do the job correctly the person needs to be certified.
“I think all three candidates are good guys,” Adams said. “But I’m the good guy with experience.”