County looking to respond to tax report

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 05:11 PM

Getting a leader for the Rutherford County Tax Department may not be the first priority to address findings in a report issued by a North Carolina Association of County Commissioners report.

The report indicated the county needs to prioritize appointing a "central authority" over the office so other measures can be examined.

However, Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said the county is already looking at addressing other issues illustrated by the report.

Those other issues include looking at the software and phone systems being used by the tax office as well as examining the office space used by tax office employees.

"We have to build systems so that we can embed citizen services," Classen said. "That means that when a citizen comes to the tax office, they can sufficiently conduct their business and come away feeling satisfied."

With the Tax Administrator position being unfunded for the current fiscal year, taking the report recommendations may prove difficult for Classen.

"You cannot do any of those systems unless you have a leader," Classen said. "The problem I have right now is that we have to start working on those systems, but we also have to find the right leader."

County commissioners approved transferring existing tax office funds to hire a consultant for the office. Classen said that Emmett Curl, former tax administrator for Wake County, began work in a consulting capacity on Tuesday. The county will spend $17,850 for the consulting work.

"He'll be working with the existing staff to help recommend those systems that can build the framework for moving forward," Classen said.

The report did say that the tax office was in good shape but was stronger in its recommendation to hire a new Tax Administrator. Classen said that the Curl's consulting work will continue through the end of the fiscal year June 30. During budget talks Classen said that he will work on funding a Tax Administrator for the next fiscal year.

"We are going to start on the systems and they are going to take time," Classen said. "I can use the consultant to help identify a potential person for lead the office, if commissioners chose to fund that position."