The office is also tasked with making investments while they hold the money, much like a bank.
“ The role of treasurer goes beyond just collecting taxes. I’m also the financial manager for all the public funds here. We act as the bank for all these monies,” Mrs. Doolittle said.
A major misconception that many residents have regarding the office is that its officials choose how much to tax the county.
“I’m not responsible for how much people are being taxed. That a multileveled process of boards and individuals who make up those tax rates, but we’re the ones who get the complaints when taxes go up,” Mrs. Doolittle said.
Under the law, the treasurer has no say to how these funds are ultimately used, the office merely holds the funds until the board of supervisors budgets them, she said.
Mrs. Doolittle, who has lived in Pinal County most of her life, believes her education and experience working with the treasurer’s office are some of the reasons she is the best candidate.
“I believe I have the education and experience it takes to fulfill the duties of the treasurer’s office. It’s a fiduciary responsibility for all the public monies that come into the county,” she said in a phone interview.
She has 21 years of experience in the county treasurer’s office and has worked as the treasurer for the past eight years.
In addition, she has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from ASU with a focus on accounting and finance.
Also, she has received training in public policy and finance from the University of Missouri and the Government Finance Officer Association.
Mrs. Doolittle sees the importance of the treasurer’s role in government.
“I think the office of treasurer is important because the county depends on having a solid financial base. When trying to promote economic development in Pinal County, it’s important for business to know that the county is financially stable and the schools have necessary resources available to them,” she said.
Besides her education and professional experience, she believes her volunteer work in the community sets her apart from most candidates.
“I’ve been very active in the community. It’s important as an elected official to be out in the community so people can see who it is that they have elected. They can also get to know me on a personal level, or interact and ask questions,” she said. “I always try to help people understand what I do, and there are always questions about property tax,” she said. “It’s an educational process we’re trying to go about, and help them be more proactive in what their tax bills are.”
She suggested going to various local governments, on city, county and state levels, public meetings as a good way to educate oneself because that is where the budget and tax rates are normally decided. Mrs. Doolittle didn’t know very much about her opponent, Mr. Boyd, but was concerned that he didn’t have the needed experience to fill the treasurer’s role.
“If I had to teach someone everything that goes into performing in the office of treasurer, I couldn’t do it in two months. I’ve been here 21 years, and I’m always learning something new,” she said. “I think it’s important to have knowledge of accounting and financial reporting, so having a financial background helps with understand all the figures and reports that are required by statute.”
In contrast, Mr. Boyd believes that not being involved with county government makes him even more qualified to fix problems.
“I’m not burdened with any kind of governmental paradigms about what can or can’t be done. This should help me be a greater facilitator to the tax paying public,” he said in a phone interview. “I think that honesty and a duty to service the public are to be expected of our elected officials. I’ll do my best to educate people that they are the true owners of government and in fact, their representatives are their servants and facilitators.”
A retired businessman, Mr. Boyd has owned and operated two businesses in vastly different markets, he said. These were a background check agency and a construction company.
He feels this experience is more than adequate to be a good treasurer. In fact, he said the office mostly runs without the treasurer.
“All a treasurer is, is a figurehead; it’s just a political appointment,” he said. “ The mechanism that actually goes out and collects taxes is already in place. More than anything, the treasurer manages the assistant treasurer who actually goes and manages all the personnel who really do the collecting.”
For Mr. Boyd, The treasurer should be focused on big picture issues like dealing with other departments or the public at large.
“ The treasurer doesn’t sit at a computer all day and do the actual labor, or need to be aware of accounting procedures. It’s not necessary,” he said.
Mr. Boyd also thinks the treasurer’s office has been slipping in its most basic role, collecting taxes.
“ There are outstanding payments owed to the county that haven’t been paid in years. Why the incumbent treasurer doesn’t go out and collect these taxes is beyond me. It is required by statute that both industry and private residences need to pay property taxes,” he said. “I intend to make sure that all the monies owed to the county are paid.”
Should he win, Mr. Boyd has many plans for the treasurer’s office.
“I also want to streamline the property tax appeal process. In this downward economy, (the treasurer’s officer will) want to make it more friendly, noticeable and timely. We want to send out notices so property owners have sufficient opportunities to deal with any amendments to their tax bill,” he said. “I have interest in limited government with a focus on the taxpayer. I believe in lightening the burden on the tax payer, and I don’t believe in corporate welfare.”
By Alexander Foote