Editor’s Note: The following questions and answers were administered to applicants for the Calaveras County Treasurer-Collector position via email. Lehua Mossa and Jennifer Barre are the two candidates registered in the primary ballot on June 7. For candidate profiles, voter information, and election-related articles, visit our Electoral Forum.
How do you define the role of treasurer-tax collector and what type of influence and/or responsibilities are included in the position that voters might not be aware of?
Musa: As an elected official, it is the responsibility of the treasurer-tax collector to be a trusted custodian of county funds. The responsibilities of the Office of the Treasurer-Collector go beyond the billing and collection of secured, unsecured and supplementary property taxes; it also includes collection of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), collection of Cannabis Cultivation Tax (Measure G), county business licenses, and daily filings from county departments, school districts, and county departments. special districts. All of these functions are performed by the County Code and the California Revenue and Taxation Code.
Rod : The best-known function of the treasurer-collector is, of course, the billing and collection of property taxes and, more recently, cannabis tax. The Treasurer-Collector also collects the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and issues business licenses. Additionally, and more importantly, the treasurer-collector serves as the banker for the county, schools, and special districts. These entities deposit their funds through the office of the treasurer. The Treasurer oversees the investment of these funds while maintaining sufficient liquidity to meet cash requirements. The Treasurer-Tax Collector is a member of the Strategic Planning and Fundraising Committee and, as such, has influence in shaping the county’s future planning and goals. The primary role of the Treasurer-Collector should be to provide management and leadership as well as advocate for the resources necessary to ensure that the office operates effectively and efficiently and in compliance with laws and regulations.
What are the key factors for running an effective treasurer-collector’s office?
Musa: I believe there are several important factors in running an effective office. First, consistency with collections, administrative procedures and taxpayers. Second, keep an open mind and allow for adjustments if necessary. Most importantly, we strive to serve Calaveras County residents with transparency and respect.
Rod : The Office of the Treasurer-Collector is a service. As such, people and processes are the main factors in an effective office of treasurer-collector. The office must have sufficient staff to be able to carry out the work at hand using processes that limit duplication and redundancy.
What makes you the best candidate for the position of treasurer-collector?
Musa: I have had the privilege of working in the Office of the Collector of Taxes since 2012. Over the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in collections and treasury functions, including managing the county investment portfolio. My day-to-day responsibilities as Assistant Treasurer-Collector include many of the duties I would inherit if elected. I believe that first-hand experience in this position, along with my love and respect for this office and our community, makes me the most qualified candidate for the position of Treasurer-Collector.
Rod : I have 20 years of experience in Calaveras government. I worked 10 years with Public Works, primarily as a program manager overseeing grants and recycling programs. I then worked for 10 years at the Office of the Auditor-Controller, exercising the functions of Property Tax Manager. During this period, I worked closely with the office of the assessor and the office of the treasurer-collector. For the past five years, I have been employed as a technical consultant/subject matter expert for a global company implementing property tax software in various counties in California. I have an associate’s degree in criminal justice from a past life, but I also studied business. I took several courses in accounting, economics and public administration. Although I am not currently working in the office, I understand the tasks and challenges of the office. The combination of my government experience coupled with my recent experience in the private sector will provide a new perspective to the position of treasurer-collector.
If elected, what changes, if any, would you make to the operations of your office?
Musa: If I am elected, there is not much that I would like to change. I am proud of the work and customer service that our office provides. Staying consistent with our current office procedures and maintaining excellent customer service is what I think is most important. Over the years, we have continued to make improvements by integrating new electronic processes. One thing we are currently working to improve is to give taxpayers more options when making payments.
Rod : My highest priority will be to provide the best customer service in the most efficient and effective way possible while preserving public funds. To achieve this goal, I would thoroughly assess existing processes and procedures to determine the best way to increase efficiency and transparency. This may include changes in staffing levels and assignments, cross-training, and the implementation of new technologies.
Is there anything unique (compared to other jurisdictions) about the Treasurer-Tax Collector position in Calaveras County?
Musa: I think what makes this position unique is that it encompasses so much more than billing and collecting local property taxes. During this application process for the position of Treasurer-Tax Collector, this is the most common comment I have received. I also think what makes this position unique is that it requires experience that you can only gain within the department. I enjoyed highlighting my office during my campaign.
Rod : What makes Calaveras’ Treasurer-Collector position unique from other jurisdictions is the number of direct contacts the position has with constituents. When fully staffed, the office has only five full-time equivalent positions, including the Treasurer-Tax Collector. This means that the treasurer-tax collector should be available to provide support where and when needed. Having worked from home for the past five years, I look forward to working in an office environment again and interacting with my colleagues and the public.