County aims at better tax-collection rate

By: By Natalie Davis - The Anson Record

With the reappointment of Joe Dutton, Anson County tax collector, the Anson County Board of Commissioners spoke of desires for the future of methods of tax collecting at the July 2 meeting.

The Board unanimously approved the reappointment, and spoke of how the Board can work to make tax collections better and more efficient.

“As a point of discussion, I think we still need to make sure that we’re moving in the direction to get in the position where taxpayers can make electronic payments,” said Commissioner Jarvis Woodburn. “I think that would help also with collections.”

Dutton said electronic payments is in discussion, and it’s just a matter of deciding to continue the process.

“There’s a bullet that we’ll have to bite, in whether or not our way of presently doing it is suitable,” Dutton said. “We’ve been having meetings to see if we can do it.”

County Manager, Baron Monroe said they have met with several tax collection software companies.

“We’ve been to one demo, and we have one more scheduled,” Monroe added. “We’re looking for the one that’s best suitable for the county before we go ahead with that.”

Monroe said the hope is that the software is in place by next year, but it will be a fast turnaround.

“Once we select the group we’re going with, then we will start migrating things over,” Monroe said. “It’s highly complicated because of the tax system and finance systems we’re working with.”

He went on to say, “We don’t want to move too many things at the same time because we may misconnect.”

Monroe said the plan is to move over the finance system first, and then move forward with transferring the tax system.

Commissioner Lawrence Gatewood said he supports the reappointment of Dutton.

“I think he’s doing an excellent job for the county, and his two customer service representatives are outstanding,” Gatewood said. “I’d like us to move to a position of having two customer service representatives at all times, during the heavy tax seasons.”

Sturdivant offered cross-training as a suggestion; and Commissioner Bobby Sikes offered a part-time position that is cross-trained.

Streater asked Monroe to look into each option, and he agreed to explore them.

“I want to commend Dutton on how he treats my seniors when they come in,” said Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant.

“You can raise your head high tonight,” said Commissioner Jim Sims.

“We do want to thank you,” said Ross Streater, chair.

Dutton said that he couldn’t do all that he’s done without the help of Toforya Hailey and Monica Williams.

Cary Garner said that the County is currently at 94.26 on property settlement, which is the highest collection in the past decade.

“I don’t think it’s where we want to end up, but we are certainly turning in the right direction,” Garner said. “We’ve been going in that direction for the last several years.”

Garner said the turn that tax collections have taken in the last year is due to Dutton and his staff.

“It means a lot when we can budget off that number,” Garner said. “Unfortunately, we hadn’t had a lot of growth, and it really makes it tight when we’re trying to find revenue to fund things, but we thank you.”

Joe Dutton is reappointed Anson County tax collector

By Natalie Davis

The Anson Record