Lake County News, Calif. – Benson: Sullivan to Take Office of Treasurer-Tax Collector to Next Level

Over the years, I haven’t paid much attention to the job of treasurer-tax collector, and now I realize that it’s about much more than just collecting property taxes.

Having listened to Patrick Sullivan during the election campaign, I also see how our county has been held back by bad policies and practices. We could benefit from a more robust county budget.

Patrick Sullivan was recruited to work in Lake County three years ago to work on the staff of the County Administrative Officer to address some of the long-neglected issues in the Office of the Treasurer-Collector using the experience that he had gained from working on similar programs in Mendocino County.

County funds were kept in non- or low-interest bearing accounts; he employed professional money management that will result in a multi-million dollar increase in our returns over the next five years.

He instituted a program to locate all vacation rental properties in the county and ensure they paid the required taxes to the county – many were not. And, in anticipation of finally making sense of the situation of tax defaulting properties and reducing the backlog, Mr. Sullivan worked with the other county departments to set up a GIS site on the county’s website. where anyone can see all the properties on a map and the minimum bid required on each. You can see it here: http://gispublic.co.lake.ca.us/portal/home/.

He has many solid ideas that he wants to implement when he is elected Lake County Treasurer-Collector. Defaulted tax rolls contain many properties where the penalties due are greater than the value of the property. They become dumping grounds that ravage neighborhoods and cause additional pressure on code enforcement. There are many programs that can turn these properties into good use for our communities.

Patrick Sullivan wants to speed up the processing of tax payments and add additional payment options for making payments online. It is possible that with greater use of credit card payment acceptance in county departments, the cost of using credit cards for payments could be reduced.

Finally, Mr. Sullivan will work to build a strong staff with cross-training and opportunities for advancement within the department. It makes no sense to drop programs because the person responsible for them retires. There are also programs that we do not use, although the software is available to do so, that would provide much needed funds, for example the ability to intercept income tax refunds from people who owe money to the county.

It’s hard work rebuilding a department, but Patrick Sullivan has the skills and know-how to take our office of Treasurer-Tax Collector to the next level. Please see his list of over 150 endorsers who agree with me. www.patricksullivanforlakecountytreasurer.com/endorsements.

Please vote for Patrick Sullivan as Treasurer-Collector on June 7th. It will be better for all of us.

Mary Benson lives in Lower Lake, California.

Esther L. Steinbach