On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at the Walker County Chamber of Commerce forum, Ms. Carolyn Walker (Walker County’s incumbent tax commissioner) made a statement regarding delinquent tax collections for mobile homes. Ms. Walker stated, “I had a program with the Walker County Assessor’s Office and it wasn’t working but now I’ve hired someone myself and it’s working just fine.”
I realize that the candidate’s time was limited in the chamber forum and believe there has been some misunderstanding regarding the comments made by Ms. Walker. I think her statement reflected negatively on the assessor’s office and in addition the statements have been picked up by the media, both local and in the surrounding areas. I feel that it is my responsibility as chairman of the board to clarify her statement.
Taken at face value the statement is technically correct, but it is misleading and indicates that the assessor’s office shares responsibility with her department for mobile home tax collections and this is not the case at all.
At the assessor’s meeting on Feb. 7, 2006, Ms. Walker was in attendance and she proposed creating a new position to be jointly shared by the assessor’s office and the tax collections office. This employee would serve the assessor’s office by discovering and removing mobile homes off the books that no longer existed in the county and to assist her office with the collection of delinquent taxes.
Knowing that one employee with two bosses is rarely successful, the board reluctantly voted to proceed with the program.
Ms. Walker attended many meetings regarding the new position and she sat in on the interview process and voted for the person hired for the position.
This program proved to be impossible to supervise and was a source of conflict and confusion for both departments as well as the employee. The program also was not cost effective for the assessor’s office. The board of assessor’s ended the program on Dec. 17, 2008, and released the employee to Ms. Walker to be a sole employee of the tax commissioner. Going forward from December 2008, the only firsthand knowledge that I have of this program is the board of assessor’s approved support to assist Ms. Walker by giving many man-hours in training for her revenue enforcement officers.
Chester (Mac) Hise, Walker County Board of Assessors Chairman