Republicans square off for tax commissioner
by Marie Nesmith
Jun 30, 2012 | 2650 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the July 31 primary election, Republicans Vicki Beck, Chuck Holt, Judy Kilgore and Steve Stewart will vie for the office of Bartow County's tax commissioner. According to www.bartowga.org, "The Tax Commissioner's Office serves as agent of the State Revenue Commissioner for the registration of motor vehicles and performing all functions relating to billing, collecting, disbursing and accounting for ad valorem taxes collected in the county."

Name: Vicki Tatum Beck

Occupation: Deputy clerk with Superior Court of Bartow County

City of residence: Acworth

Family: My parents are Urby and Jean Wilson Tatum. My husband of 39 years is John Beck, and we have two children, a son, Jonathan Beck, and a daughter and son-in-law, Leslie and Brian Shoemaker. Ryan McCrary and Harper Shoemaker are our grandchildren. My in-laws are Betty Lusk Beck and the late Grady C. Beck, all of Cartersville.

Education: Cartersville High School

Age: 56

Website: www.facebook.com/ElectVickiBeckforBartowCountyTaxCommissioner

Q: Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: I decided to run for this particular office after careful consideration, including prayer, consultation with family and close friends, but also with the retirement of VaLenda Bailey as tax commissioner. Five of my nine years of service with Bartow County government have been in the Tax Commissioner's Office.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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 a series of public service announcements through the local media outlets to help educate everyone about the changes under the new law.

Q: 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: Chuck Holt

Occupation: Sales for Graybar Electric Company Inc.

City of residence: Cartersville

Family: I am married to the former Valerie Waits. She is a teacher at Woodland High School. We have a daughter, Betsy, who is 18 and pursuing a degree in speech pathology. We are members of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Education: Bachelor of Science in business administration. I have also attended Southern Polytechnic State University's Electrical Engineering program.

Age: 51

Website: www.electchuckholt.com



Q: Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: The office of Tax Commissioner is primarily an administrative and customer service position. I believe it is a great fit for my work experience and educational background. I have enjoyed 24-plus years of working for a Fortune 500 corporation in administrative and customer service positions. I have managed multi-million dollar budgets and supervised large staffs. After much prayer and serious consideration, I believe that I will be able to offer the best ideas and direction to the tax department as the next tax commissioner of Bartow County.



Q: If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: I will work with the fine staff that is already in place to address any problem areas that affect the efficiency and the performance of the department. I will work to make sure the staff has all the tools and training available to perform at their best. The staff of the Tax Commissioner's Office works very hard. I would like to develop a system that rewards them for going above and beyond the call of duty. I plan to lead by action, example and hard work. I will bring a very business-minded focus to the office.



Q: What is the most pressing issue facing the Tax Commissioner's Office?

A: Due to the economy, staff size and hours have been reduced. This is a challenge but one that we can meet. Every family and every business has been doing more with less for quite a while now. We will rise to the challenge at hand.



Q: Once in office, what will your priority be?

A: I will work with the staff to provide excellent customer service to the citizens of Bartow County. I will see that the staff is well trained on the new tag procedures that take effect in March of 2013 and that there is a system to notify citizens about the changes they will see. The top priority will include training for the staff, up-to-date computer hardware and a compensation system for all of the hard work by the staff.



Q: Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A: I am the only candidate running for tax commissioner that works in private industry. I have a degree in business administration and work experience necessary to be successful in the position. I am not a career politician, but a citizen who feels that I have the best ideas, goals and leadership ability to direct the tax department. I want to run this government office the way you would run your successful business -- efficiently and friendly. My great hope and prayer is that this is an election about ideas, goals and direction for a growing county and not tradition or the number of yard signs.

Name: Judy Kilgore

Occupation: Bartow County Tax Assessors Office, Administrative Coordinator II/Appraiser II

City of residence: Cartersville

Family: April Kilgore, daughter, and three grandchildren, Lauren, Paul and Preston of Cartersville; Mark and Miranda Harwell (daughter) and grandson, Jackson, of Ellijay. I have a Jack Russell dog, Bonnie, who is my faithful and constant companion.

Education: Graduate of Chattooga High School in Summerville. Grace Ministries International, Appraiser II certification, numerous banking and customer service classes.

Age: 59

Website: www.judykilgore.com and Facebook @ Judy Kilgore for Tax Commissioner.

Q: Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: With our current tax commissioner retiring, it was a natural progression for me to seek the office of tax commissioner. I have experience in both the Tax Commissioner's Office and Tax Assessors Office -- five years in the Tax Commissioner's Office and 15 years in the Tax Assessors Office, which has allowed me to know how everything fits together. Plus, my current position allows me to see the growing needs of our community. I love serving the residents of Bartow County, and it would be a pleasure to serve as their next tax commissioner.



Q: If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: Besides providing the services of being a tax commissioner the residents of Bartow County are asking for extended office hours and more payment plans -- look for ways to save the county money. I would also want the community we serve to have input and make their requests known.



Q: What is the most pressing issue facing the Tax Commissioner's Office?

A: The economy -- it has caused loss of revenue, loss of jobs and high foreclosures in Bartow County.



Q: Once in office, what will your top priority be?

A: First of all, the collection of taxes and disbursement to state and county governments. Talk to the current staff to determine if there is any way to cut costs without cutting our services. Check into extending hours, so that our residents will not have to take time off from work to transact business.



Q: Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A: As a dedicated public servant my goal will be to assist the residents of Bartow County with all their tax-related issues. I have extensive knowledge of the tax system and will provide outstanding customer service. I will continue to be loyal to the position as tax commissioner as well to our taxpayers ... they can count on me to serve with integrity. I will always listen and have an open-door policy.

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

Family: Son of the late Eddie and Billie Stewart; married to Connie Howren, high school sweetheart for 27 years. She is the daughter of Gary and Donna Howren and Joyce Morris. We have two children, Elliott Stewart, 24, and Erynn Stewart, 22. Elliott is married to the former Hannah Perry. Elliott is employed at Phoenix Air. Eryn is currently in college at Georgia Highlands, had also attended West Georgia College and works at Ward Family Chiropractic.

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

Age: 50

Q: Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: I made the decision to run for office because I know that my 25 years of experience in county government has equipped me to continue my service to Bartow County citizens. I am clearly aware and understand the duties and responsibilities of tax commissioner. I am confident that I am the best choice to lead this office. I am knowledgeable about county policies and procedures. As some of you may know, I have had the desire to run for tax commissioner for quite some time.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.