New County Assessor Settling In Just Fine

Deborah Hughes

Deborah Hughes

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After 25 years, the Gila County Assessor’s Office has someone new at the helm, and Payson realtor Deborah Hughes is settling in wonderfully.

“Everything is just fine, I’m loving it,” said Hughes, who unseated the longtime incumbent in November — becoming the first person from northern Gila County to hold the office in decades.

At the Feb. 19 supervisors’ meeting, Hughes learned that the refinancing of the loan she needs to pay for her department’s software will be delayed because of some incorrect verbiage.

The delay did not phase her. She said she expects it to pass at the next meeting.

“It will save us (Gila County) over $50,000,” she said.

In fact, Hughes said she was surprised to learn how well equipped she is to do this job.

Hughes has lived in Gila County for almost 30 years. For 17 of those years, she worked in Rim Country real estate. Her husband currently serves as the vice-mayor of Payson.

During the election, she said she ran for the Assessor’s Office position because she was tired of the discrepancies in property valuations and incorrect property descriptions.

Her favorite part of the job is working with people.

“Right now, exemptions are coming in for people like widows and the disabled. I really enjoy helping them,” she said.

Hughes said the staff has been incredibly helpful.

She made sure to debunk the election rumors that insinuated a lack of communication between the assessor’s, treasurer’s and recorder’s offices.

“All we have to do is give permission for the other offices to access information,” said Hughes.

She said she misses spending time in Payson since she needs to be in the county seat for the job. She now spends many nights in an RV in Globe and returns to her Payson home on the weekends. She goes to the Payson office either at the beginning or the end of the week.

“My life now is work-home-sleep-work,” she said. “I spend some time in the Payson office either early or late in the week.”

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