How long have you been a part of the Howell County community? To what extent have you been a part of local government in Howell County? I am a third-generation Howell County farmer and still reside on the farm I was raised on in the Howell Valley community.
I have had the honor of serving in several capacities: 18 years as a member of the Howell Valley School Board; 14 years as Howell County Associate Commissioner, Southern District; and 12 years as Howell County Presiding Commissioner.
As part of serving as presiding commissioner, I have served on numerous boards, including the University of Missouri Extension Council, South Central Workforce Development, Ozark Action, South Central Ozarks Council of Governments, South Central Solid Waste Board, Transport Advisory Committee, President of the South Central Missouri Regional Commissioners Association and President of the Missouri Association of County Commissioners Association.
If you are elected, what will be your priorities for the county collector’s office? The county collector’s office is an administrative office that is responsible for the collection and distribution of property tax revenues in the amount of $27 million to 29 different entities within Howell County. My priority will be to collect these taxes and correctly distribute the funds to the proper entities.
Also, it will be a priority to assist taxpayers who may be experiencing unfamiliar and complicated property tax issues. On those occasions, the collector needs to be knowledgeable of the tax collection procedure in order to assist and guide the taxpayer. My goal is to continue to provide the same service in the collector’s office that we have all come to expect and deserve.
In what ways do you feel your previous experiences have prepared you for this office? My experience in the county government has given me the background necessary to serve the taxpayers as their Howell County Collector. As the county government is becoming more complex, it is helpful for the officeholders to understand all of its working parts completely. Each year I have served as commissioner, I have attended the mandatory training sessions in addition to countless nonmandatory trainings focused on the various county operations. Over the years, I have been a small business owner and farmer. I understand the day-to-day obstacles and challenges people face.
Regarding your prospective position, what do you consider your greatest strengths? Weaknesses? I believe my greatest strength is the ability to work within the parameters of the law to assist taxpayers with problems that they may encounter.
What do you consider the biggest challenge of the position you are running for? What areas need improvement and why? One of the biggest challenges I see is staying up to date on the ever-changing state and bankruptcy laws affecting the county collector’s office. From the outside looking in, it looks like the office is a smooth operation. Until you are sitting in the county collector’s chair, it’s hard to look across the fence and know what areas that might be worked on.
What is the most important issue or challenge you anticipate the collector’s office will face this year and in the foreseeable future? As the economy declines, I believe one of the challenges will be with delinquent tax collections. When taxpayers are late in payment, the penalties and interest are significant and difficult for taxpayers who are already experiencing a difficult time.
How would you address this challenge or issue if you are elected? There is no magic solution to this challenge.
How do party politics play into your job as county collector? Personally, I am and always have been a conservative Republican. However, as in the past, when I walk into the office each morning, my focus will be on serving all of the county residents the same regardless of their political persuasion.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career? In your personal life? I believe the greatest accomplishment of my career, with the help of the associate commissioners I have served with, is that on Jan. 1, I will be leaving the presiding commissioner’s office with the county in the best financial condition in its history.
There is no question my greatest personal accomplishment is my family. My wife of 39 years, Ruby, and I are the parents of four children and grandparents to five grandchildren, one of which was born just a couple of weeks ago.
What do you believe is the most important quality, talent or experience you will bring to the job if elected county collector? I believe the most important quality I will bring to the job is found in my upbringing. As a young boy, my parents instilled in me faith, family, community and the value of hard work. I am proud of my public service on the school board and county commission. I want to thank the Howell County residents for their trust and confidence in me. I ask for their vote and continued support for the office of Howell County Collector. As I always say, “Howell County is a great place to live, work and raise a family!”
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