Candidate column: Wilbert ‘Bill’ Baker explains what the county surveyor does

Wilbert "Bill" Baker
For the Craig Press

We all cherish our God given freedoms in this blessed country: life, liberty and property. We often see our first responders manning an ambulance, fire truck or patrol car, providing life sustaining aid, protecting the lives and property of anyone in need, and upholding the rule of law. But what about those surveyors?

What is that surveyor poking around for?

Most folks that own land understand the importance of property boundaries, having invested a lifetime of work or, in many cases, generations of effort in the improvement of a home or development of a business interest. Whether a modest lot in town or a large multi-acre ranch, the location of title rights to land and its enjoyment is a vital part of good stewardship of land.

Does anyone really understand what those surveyors do?

You’ve seen us wandering around, digging in a fence corner, sometimes blocking traffic at the most inconvenient time. Folks really don’t think much about it, but surveyors are protecting our property rights. A land surveyor is licensed by the state of Colorado to protect the legal vested rights that you have in your land. Like the paramedics, firefighters and police officers, we are professionals who, in the conduct of our duties, take very seriously your access and enjoyment of life, liberty and property.

I’ve got a deed. Why do I need a survey?

If you own property, you have certain rights and responsibilities that insure the use and enjoyment of your land. Where do these rights come from? You guessed it, from our Creator and enshrined in our Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

But like any right, you must be vigilant in understanding the scope and limits of the use of your property. Your title rights and the location of your boundary lines are typically described in a document recorded in the clerk and recorder’s office.

Restrictions and certain uses of your property are normally spelled out in these documents, but can be difficult to find. Land surveyors are retained to assist you in finding these documents and interpreting how, and where on your property, these are located. If we lived in a perfect world, all of these deeds and the descriptions of boundaries and rights would seamlessly fit together.

A land surveyor is tasked with recovering the recorded instruments that pertain to your land, performing an assessment of the documents, conducting an impartial retracement of the evidence of your boundaries, installing boundary markers and providing you with a survey that can stand up in court, if needed.

What is this going to cost me?

One of my clients asked me what a “typical” survey should cost. I told him that I’m sure there is one out there, but in 40 years, I’ve never seen one. Each tract of land, with all of the possible sizes, shapes, uses, alterations, history of conveyances (sometimes questionable), adjustments and configurations the human can devise, is unique. Thus, there is no “typical” cost. A professional service will require a professional fee — sometimes with a retainer or negotiated — but is well worth it.

Who is this guy?

As a Colorado native and an alumnus of the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado with over 40 years in a land-surveying career in Colorado, I am on the ballot for your consideration for the office of Moffat County surveyor.

In addition to the university training, I have professional level experience and certificates for more than 360 hours of advanced instruction in my profession, including as a Certified Federal Cadastral Surveyor. Holding these certificates allows me to conduct surveys on any private or public land (BLM, Forest Service, etc.) in the county that may need precise location.

As a part of your county government, the office of Moffat County surveyor must be conducted by a competent individual with a level of professionalism and education commensurate with the importance of the service expected by a knowledgeable society and the rule of law.

My pledge will be to earn your vote, and serve the people of Moffat County to the best of my ability with honor and integrity.

Wilbert “Bill” Baker is from Maybell. He’s running for the office of Moffat County surveyor.

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