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Salt Lake County has a new assessor for the first time in nearly two decades, with council confirmation Tuesday of Kevin Jacob's selection by the county Republican Party.

Jacobs, 57, is a 23-year veteran of the assessor's office, most recently serving as chief deputy to Lee Gardner, who resigned Aug. 31 with a little more than a year left in his fifth term as county assessor.

In a replacement election last week, Republican delegates picked Jacobs over three other candidates for the position. He was the preference of Gardner, who left the county after 19 years to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jacobs said he was eager to work with the office's 105-member staff to address "challenges in the assessor's office, face them head on and move the office forward."

Councilman David Wilde, who participated in the county GOP central committee's election, praised Jacobs. "Kevin's the guy who's had the experience right here in the county, doing the work we want our assessor to do. And I think that's what the other delegates thought, too."

During his lengthy tenure, Jacobs has filled several posts in the assessor's office, which now has a budget of $12.5 million to cover the annual valuation of 347,000 individual property parcels. His total compensation last year, including salary and benefits, was $163,891, according to

He also has been a fiscal manager and oversaw office administration, development of an integrated tax system and motor vehicles.

The veteran bureaucrat said he has not decided yet whether politics are to his liking and if he will run to retain his seat in November, 2014.

In that election, the assessor's office will be one of four elected county positions whose term length will be extended to six years on a one-time basis. The treasurer, recorder and surveyor also will be up for six-year terms.

Deputy District Attorney Gavin Anderson said the Legislature made the change to limit the chances of all of a county's elected officials (outside of the council which already has staggered terms) from being ousted in an election, disrupting continuity.

That means the auditor's term will end in a year different from both the assessor and treasurer.

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