Gallatin resident John M. Hurt will be on the ballot for Sumner County Property Assessor in the March 5 primary election, running unopposed as a Republican, and the sole candidate for the office.
Although Hurt has worked in the property assessor’s office for 27 years, his path to becoming a candidate was somewhat circuitous. John Isbell was the previously elected property assessor, and when he won his bid for Sumner County Mayor, there were still two years remaining in his term.
“The County Commission decided to appoint Don Linville to fill the remainder of the term,” Hurt explained. “Don worked in the property assessor’s office for many years—and actually came out of retirement to fulfill the term. He plans to go right back into retirement after the election.”
Hurt started with the property assessor’s office in 1996.
“I’m a cartographer,” Hurt said. “When I first began working here, everything was done on paper. Every map was drawn with pen and ink, and we drew new maps every year. If someone wanted to see a map, they had to come to our office, and we would pull it out of a drawer. Around 2000, the State of Tennessee began a big push to implement a Geographic Information System—known as GIS—in every county. So, I got in on the very beginning of the GIS program for Sumner County.”
GIS is a computerized program designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. GIS is used for urban planning, environmental science, natural resource management, and property analysis.
Hurt said that all the information on the Sumner County GIS website comes from the property assessor’s office.
“It’s something we’re very proud of—people from all over the county, the nation, and even the world use this website to learn about the properties in Sumner County,” he said. “You can obtain the size and value of a piece of property and even identify school systems, voter location, or churches nearby—so the system is very valuable, for instance, to someone considering moving to Sumner County.”
Hurt pointed out that the assessor’s office does not make policy.
“Our job is to follow the laws of the State of Tennessee that govern an assessor of property through the DPA (Division of Property Assessment),” he said.
Hurt feels the biggest strength he brings to his candidacy is the 27 years of experience he’s had in the office.
“Over my tenure, I have taken the Sumner County Property Assessor’s Office from no technology to high technology,” he said. “The GIS System is a huge selling point for our county. Over the last couple of years, our office transitioned to using the state’s CAMA (Computer Aided Mass Appraisal) system—a transition which has gone very well. So, we now have a good relationship with the Tennessee DPA. If we ever have a question, we can reach a real person, and if we need them, they’ll come see us here. It’s a good partnership.”
Hurt said he also has good working relationships with the city and county municipalities.
“I’ve been here for a long time – I am familiar with the people in city and county government,” he said. “I would look forward to working with the people who are making decisions about our cities and our county—and would be more than happy to answer questions or offer help in any way.”