Governor Hebert reaches into Carbon County to fill Utah Tax Commission Seat

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Governor Gary Herbert announced on Thursday afternoon that he has appointed Carbon County native Robert Pero to serve on the Utah State Tax Commission.

Just short of 20 years ago, Robert Pero was appointed to the position of County Clerk/Auditor by the Carbon County Commission following the death of Norm Prichard, who had previously filled the position. If the Utah State Senate approves Governor Gary Herbert’s pick of Pero to the State Tax Commission, the next County Clerk Auditor will also be appointed by the County Commission. Pero will wait to resign his current post as Carbon County Clerk/Auditor until his confirmation by the Utah State Senate.

He previously served on the Utah Association of Counties’ Revenue and Taxation Steering Committee, and was appointed by then Lt. Governor Herbert in 2006 to represent Utah on the United States Election Assistance Commission Standards Board.

Even as this announcement is a surprise to many Carbon County residents, Pero says that Hebert has approached him several times about an appointment to the commission. The last time was right before the election through Commission member Michael Kragun. В This time after discussion with his wife, Dorine, he felt the timing was right and accepted the nomination.

Pero attended Utah State University for a Master degree in computer science and applied statistics, and received his Bachelor’s degree in business and economics at the University of Utah. В In March he will have been Carbon County’s Clerk/Auditor for 20 years.

“I know property tax,” he said as he sat down to talk about the appointment. “The worst part of this job has been setting tax rates because even though it involves the whole county, no one really understands how to do it.”

He used his knowledge of computer sciences and designed the programs to do that for the county even before the state-wide program was in place. В He feels like he has everything for his successor well in hand as he prepares to leave. The 2012 budgets are closed out, new budgets in place and the election is over.

Pero stated that this years’ election was the toughest one he has been through. More residents had questions about voter eligibility than he has ever experienced and the phones were ringing constantly for almost a solid month.

He has truly loved his job and has not forgotten it is an elected position.

Pero added, “The people put me here. I work for them”

He, his wife and all four children were born and raised in Carbon County. All six of them also В have graduated from the University of Utah. One of his sons has moved back to the area recently, his daughter lives in Baltimore, but two sons live in the Salt Lake area. With a couple of grandchildren there, it is part of the appeal to make the move to live in Salt Lake.

Looking ahead, Pero will join three current members of the Utah Tax commission. He replaces Mark Johnson who was not reappointed. To give the commission balance they needed a Democrat and a rural representative with property tax experience. Pero certainly fit the profile.

He will oversee appeals of tax assessments that are brought in if local residents do not get satisfaction when they appeal their property taxes at a local level. The commission also sets the tax rates on what is called “centrally assessed” property taxes. Those are the property taxes for the large entities such as Utah Power and Light, the coal mines, the railroad, etc.

In recent years Carbon Counties centrally assessed property rates have decreased by $300 million. В Since the tax laws state that counties are entitled to receive the same amount of tax revenues, this has resulted in individual property tax raises for Carbon County residents over the past three years. Pero feels like he can bring some insight to the commission on how that affects the smaller rural areas.

He went on to explain that even though he is an elected official, there will not be a special election held to replace him. State statute 20A-1-508 outlines the procedures. Since he has less than two years left on his term, the Carbon County Democratic Party will ask for applicants and make a selection. They will then send that name to the County Commission for confirmation. The applicants will have to be registered Democrats. The person selected will fill out the remainder of the term and will have to run for re-election.

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