Beck, Stewart gear up for tax commissioner runoff
by Marie Nesmith
Aug 18, 2012 | 1630 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the Aug. 21 runoff quickly approaching, Bartow County tax commissioner candidates Vicki Beck and Steve Stewart are actively trying to energize their base while reaching out to undecided voters.

“It’s just been another 21 days of the same process with us,” Stewart said. “It’s been hard work and [we have been] keeping our foot to the pedal. It’s a little scary when you almost win without a runoff and you go back to zero to zero. So we’re just kind of continuing to do the same things we’ve been doing — staying on the high road, not being negative and hopefully that’s going to push us on through.”

In the July 31 primary election, Stewart garnered 47.1 percent of the vote, with Beck capturing 21.2 percent in the four-candidate race.

“We’re trying to contact as many of the voters as we can by telephone calls or by mail,” Beck said. “We’re just asking for all of my supporters to come out and vote for me again. And then I’m also asking for the voters that voted for Chuck Holt and Judy [Kilgore] to come back and cast their vote for me since they have placed their support for me.”

Name: Vicki Tatum Beck

Occupation: Deputy clerk with Superior Court of Bartow County

City of residence: Acworth

Education: Cartersville High School

Age: 56


If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: I want the people of Bartow County who come to the Tax Commissioner’s Office to leave with the feeling that they have been treated fairly and equitably. This requires the highest level of service-oriented staff, and I plan to lead the way by setting the example myself.

What is the most pressing issue facing the Tax Commissioner’s Office?

A: The most pressing issue is the implementation of the New Title Tax Law passed by the most recent session of the Georgia Legislature. The law drastically changes the collection of ad valorem taxes on newly purchased vehicles after March 1, 2013. Vehicles purchased between Jan. 1, 2012, until Feb. 28, 2013, may opt in prior to Jan. 1, 2014. If you are currently paying your ad valorem taxes yearly you will continue this type of payment until you purchase a new vehicle. This will certainly cause a great deal of confusion and questions that will be directed at the tax commissioner, who will need to be available on a daily basis to assist in handling any problems that may arise. Another issue to be faced by the incoming tax commissioner will be replacing outdated computers and printers under current budget restraints.

Once in office, what will your top priority be?

A: I want [to] ensure that each employee of the Tax Commissioner’s Office has been fully trained and that they have a good understanding of the new Title Tax Law. Additionally, I will ensure that each customer receives the highest level of customer service care. I would also like to do series of public service announcements through the local media outlets to help educate everyone about the changes under the new law.

Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A: Because of my five years prior experience in the Tax Commissioner’s Office and my strong customer service background, I will be able to step in on day one and assume the duties of tax commissioner in a seamless transition.

Name: Steve Stewart

Occupation: I currently serve as facility manager for county facilities and as the customer service representative for all departments under the authority of the county commissioner. I also serve as record retention coordinator and project manager over construction projects. I am also responsible for the retention and storage of county records that are stored in the records retention area in the administration building.

City of residence: Adairsville

Education: Graduate of Cass High School in 1980, attended Hiwassee Junior College, Floyd Junior College and Middle Tennessee State University.

Age: 50

If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: I want to continue the quality of service that both VaLenda Bailey, current tax commissioner, and Jack Nally, retired tax commissioner, provided for us. I would like to open satellite offices on both the north and south areas of the county, as resources are available. I plan to update the website, which would provide more information to the citizens regarding tag and tax issues.

What is the most pressing issue facing the Tax Commissioner’s Office?

A: New law regarding ad valorem tax of vehicles; educating the public on this issue, [implementing] alternate ways citizens can access services via technology.

Once in office, what will your top priority be?

A: Explore the possibility of a split tax bill or payment plans, provide training opportunities for all staff. Meet with officials from all municipalities to ensure all mobile homes are registered. Research recipient information regarding distribution of refund checks to prevent submitting to Department of Revenue. If a taxpayer is due funds, I want them to receive it rather than the state of Georgia, which is required after five years of holding funds. I believe local government should provide excellent services efficiently, but we are not a private-for-profit company. Citizens expect and deserve quality customer services.

Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A: I have the leadership skills and experience in county government to be your tax commissioner. My current responsibilities include oversight of multi-million dollar construction projects, supervision of staff, records management and addressing citizen complaints. These responsibilities have prepared me to serve the citizens as an elected official. I will be tax commissioner for all people and I will always have an open door for anyone who has a problem.