For Gilpin County Treasurer
Susan Berumen brings a strong business and financial management background plus a long-time commitment to the well-being of Gilpin County to her bid for Gilpin County Treasurer. Currently working in the finance office of Central City, Berumen is focused on facilitating cost-effective and efficient government that enhances life for residents.
Berumen’s qualifications for county treasurer include that she:
–Has topnotch organizational and customer-service skills;
–Knows the accounting and public-trustee roles of the county treasurer;
–Has experience training employees and developing leadership among co-workers;
–Can manage human resources, including payroll and payroll taxes;
–Is current in the best business and technical practices for government finance operations; and
–Knows the county inside out.
Berumen worked in the Gilpin County Treasurer’s Office from 2011-2016 serving as tax representative/ deputy treasurer for three of those years. That work introduced her to the functions of the office with a special focus on the details and customer-service demands of overseeing property-tax concerns.
“I know at least 95 percent of what’s expected of the county treasurer, the pieces of the puzzle and how they go together,” Berumen said. “Because it’s a small office, I learned all the functions, some first hand and some through observation.”
As an active member of the statewide Colorado Government Finance Officers Association, Berumen has taken continuing-education courses to learn emerging software and procedures that streamline government accounting and financial procedures. Bringing this expertise to the Gilpin County Treasurer’s office will mean increased efficiency and cost savings, important in the daily operations of the treasurer’s office.
“All money collected by the county goes through the treasurer’s office,” Berumen said. “Property taxes are a big-ticket item, but there are day-to-day revenue flows to manage also. For example, the $2-per-bag trash fee goes through the treasurer. It is important that payments from across the county are efficiently posted on an ongoing basis.”
Berumen’s customer-service skills will also benefit county residents and departments across the county government.
“The treasurer’s office has a lot of contact with the public,” she said. “A lot of people have questions on tax deadlines. The office helps people with property taxes, and staff needs to be able to explain how these taxes are calculated. The office does title work and other research, and must convey that information clearly so people know what they will need when they go to the county clerk and recorder’s office.”
Berumen said she enjoys listening to people’s needs and helping them find answers. As county treasurer, that work will extend to listening to and working with staff across the county and the three county commissioners.
“Being part of a team is important to me,” Berumen said. “As county treasurer, I will work with other departments to make things easier and more convenient for them.”
She gave an example from her work with Central City. When she began her job with the city, she found frustration among employees around credit-card procedures. She set out to solve the problem.
“We had a system of department heads signing credit cards in and out,” she said. “It was cumbersome. I researched what change was possible. Our bank couldn’t meet our needs so I contacted other banks until I found one that could work with us by providing one card to each department and setting up an electronic management system that is more functional than handling paper receipts. Each department manager became more independent with the streamlined process. And we got close to a $1,000 rebate from the credit cards.”
Berumen sees working with the commissioners as a two-way street.
“I’m eager to take direction from them, and I also see taking a leadership role in helping them know the nuts and bolts and actual dollar numbers for Gilpin County,” she said. “So much of what we talk about in the county comes down to what things costs. My job will be to crunch the numbers and provide cost analyses.”
Berumen is well suited to the treasurer’s office where a limited number of staff must juggle multiple roles, some more mundane than others.
“I’m very hands-on,” she said. “No work is below me. As a district sales manager for a chain of retail stores, I could hop on a cash register, clean out dressing rooms, jump into the middle of the fray and work with others as needed.”
Her hands-on approach extends to learning new information systems.
“I find learning new software systems easy,” Berumen said. “I like researching ways to improve functions.”
Berumen’s work experience beyond the county treasurer’s office and Central City includes serving as business manager for Eagles’ Nest Learning Center, an income auditor for the Isle of Capri Casino, owner and treasurer of a family business, and district sales manager for a national clothing-store chain. As a volunteer, she is vice president of the Gilpin County Library Board of Directors and has been active with Friends of the Library. She volunteers at her children’s school, chaperoning field trips and serving at the annual Harvest Feast.
She has lived in Gilpin County for 24 years and is a native Coloradan who grew up in Pueblo. When she and her husband, Mark Gonzalez, married 25 years ago, they knew they wanted to live in the mountains. Mark landed a construction job in Gilpin, and they fell in love with the community. They soon bought a cabin in mid-county where they’ve raised their two daughters, Elizabeth and Alexandra Berumen-Gonzalez, and where they still live today.
“Gilpin County is home,” Berumen said. “I want to serve my county in a serious way. The county is going through a lot of changes, and I want to be part of that. With the economy going well, more people are coming to Colorado, and the state is changing. I want Gilpin to be part of the growth while retaining what is special about this place, the reasons we enjoy living here. I want Gilpin to have systems in place to welcome businesses that serve our local community while keeping our mountain open lands. If we all work together as a community and decide we want this lifestyle, we can grow in the way we want with reasonable limits on things like land use and the marijuana-grow industry.”
Berumen said the Gilpin way of life includes families doing things as families even when that is as simple as eating meals together. As county treasurer, her goal will be to work for systems that enhance this kind of life.
For information on Berumen, see www.susanbfortreasurer.org.