Friday, 21 June 2024

Benson: Sullivan will take Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office to the next level

Over the years, I haven’t paid much attention to the job of treasurer-tax collector, and now I realize it is so much more than just collecting property taxes.

After listening to Patrick Sullivan on the campaign trail, I also see how much our county has been held back by poor policies and practices. We could be enjoying a more robust county budget.

Patrick Sullivan was recruited to work in Lake County three years ago to work on the county administrative officer’s staff to address some of the long-neglected issues in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office utilizing the experience he had gained working on similar programs in Mendocino County.

County funds were being kept in no or low interest-bearing accounts; he brought in professional money management which will result in a several million dollar boost to our returns over the next five years.

He instituted a program to locate all of the vacation rental properties in the county and ensure they were paying the required taxes to the county — many were not. And, in anticipation of finally making sense of the tax defaulted property situation and whittling down the backlog, Mr. Sullivan worked with the other departments in the county to set up a GIS site on the county website where anyone can view all the properties on a map and the minimum bid required on each. You can see it here:

He has many solid ideas that he wants to implement when elected Lake County’s treasurer-tax collector. The defaulted tax rolls contain many properties where the penalties owed are more than the property is worth. They become dumping grounds that blight neighborhoods and cause added strain on code enforcement. There are many programs that can turn these properties into good use by our communities.

Patrick Sullivan wants to speed up the processing of tax payments and add additional payment options for making payments online. It is possible that through greater use of credit card payment acceptance across county departments, the cost to use credit cards for payments could be lowered.

Finally, Mr. Sullivan will work on building a strong staff with cross-training and opportunities for advancement within the department. It makes no sense to abandon programs because the person responsible for it retires. There are also programs we are not using, despite having the software available to do so, that would bring in much needed funds e.g., the ability to intercept state income tax refunds from people who owe money to the county.

It is tough work to rebuild a department, but Patrick Sullivan has the skills and know how to take our Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office to the next level. Please see his list of more than 150 endorsers who agree with me.

Please vote for Patrick Sullivan for treasurer-tax collector on June 7. It will be better for all of us.

Mary Benson lives in Lower Lake, Calif.

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