After more than two months on the job, Vermillion resident Gene Lunn is getting used to his new role as director of equalization for Clay County.
Theres a lot to learn, he said. The staff and the people around me have been very friendly, very helpful, and I realize that theres a lot to learn, but that makes it exciting. Theres something new every day.
Lunn took over as director of equalization from Leonard Rasmussen on Dec. 1, although he worked with Rasmussen since Sept. 1 to become better acclimated to the position.
Ive seen a lot of the county, Lunn said. The last 90 days Leonard was here, we traveled the county pretty extensively, looking at building permits and that type of thing, following up with the building permits, meeting a lot of the farmers and business people.
Lunn said this is his favorite part of the job.
I enjoy visiting with the people, he said. Ive been involved in banking (in Vermillion) since 1986. Ive met a lot of people that way, and it just keeps me in touch with them.
Although Lunn has much experience in the finance industry, this is his first time working in a county position.
The majority of my (work in the) finance industry was real estate lending, he said. I have a background in real estate. This is coming at it from a different angle.
Director of equalization is charged with putting a value on all the property in Clay County, he said. We do that in a number of ways. We look at the real estate sales ag, commercial and residential and we analyze those to see where the values are going.
In analyzing a piece of property, both the market cost and income approach are examined to come up with the best value.
Were valuing property for tax reasons, Lunn said. We dont set the taxes or anything, we just let the county commissioners know what the value is in the county, and when they put their budget together, thats the value they have to work with.
A native of eastern Gregory County, Lunn said he wasnt necessarily looking for a job in finance when he enrolled in college, but by the time I graduated, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.
His first position was in North Dakota.
I was transferred to Iowa. They were looking at another transfer, and I decided I wanted to get something more stable, Lunn said. So I started to look for positions back in South Dakota. I was able to get one in Yankton in 1978.
Hes been in the area ever since. He moved to Vermillion in 1986, and lives here with his wife Kate. The couple has two grown sons.
Working with numbers is something Lunn has always enjoyed.
There are a lot of numbers to work with here, he said. Theres about 9,000 parcels of property in Clay County that we maintain some kind of value on. It keeps us busy.