Q&A: Candidates sound off

 

Patsy Gresham—Andrew Angel

Patsy Gresham               Andrew Angel

 

 

Two candidates are seeking election to a four-year term as the Quay County treasurer.

Republican Incumbent Patsy R. Gresham and challenger Andrew M. Angel, a Democrat, ran with no opposition in the primary election.

This is the only local contested race on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.

Early and absentee voting will begin on Oct. 11 at the Quay County clerk’s office located at the Quay County Courthouse, said Ellen White, chief deputy clerk.

Patsy R. Gresham

Q: What do you think is the main function and purpose of the county treasurer?

A: The main purpose of the treasurer is to be the “collector” of all funds for the county government and to accurately credit all funds to the county’s general ledger in a timely manner.

This requires keeping proper accounting records of the receipt of  all funds, including property taxes, gross receipts taxes, receipts from all county departments and others.

Just as importantly, the treasurer is responsible to distribute these funds accurately and timely to the entities that share in these receipts, i.e., the municipalities in the county and the schools.

Q: Property taxes collected by the county treasurer’s office contribute a large portion of revenue to local governments and schools annually. What would you do to ensure the timely collection of these taxes?

A: In order to ensure timely collection of property taxes, it is important to meet all the state deadlines for mailing billing notices — original notices by Nov. 1 and then subsequent notices in June and July.

It is also necessary to post notices of the tax-delinquent dates as required by law.

I will meet these deadlines.

One deterrent to timely collection of taxes involves out-of-date addresses. I will work with taxpayers to try to improve the delivery of notices to the proper addresses.

As important as it is to collect taxes in a timely manner, it is also required by state law that receipts of a current month be distributed by the 15th day of the following month to the entities that participate in county revenue, i.e., schools, municipalities, hospital, and other state agencies.

I will continue to make balanced daily deposits and to complete and balance the various “end of month reports” by the 10th day of the subsequent month. This allows the checks to be prepared and mailed to participating entities before the 15th of the month following the month in which the funds were collected.

Q: What changes, if any, do you think should be made to improve residents’ access to the services of the treasurer’s office?

A: I believe that the treasurer’s office should be updated to include the technology to take payments from taxpayers via debit and credit cards, in person or over the phone.

We should also improve our website to enable taxpayers to be able to search the tax file to identify amounts due and amounts previously paid using on-line technology.

The Legislature also has passed a bill that allows taxpayers to receive their tax bills via e-mails, if that is their choice.

I would like to implement the necessary upgrades to offer these options to Quay County taxpayers.

Q:  What will you do to ensure transparency in the treasurer’s office?

A: Transparency in the treasurer’s office is mandated by state law as are most of the policies and procedures in the treasurer’s office. Your right to have your questions regarding property taxes or other collections and activities of the treasurer’s office may be addressed by the “Inspection of Public Records Act.”

In any case, I strongly believe that being available to taxpayers and practicing excellent customer service is a large part of being a successful treasurer. I will be available to answer questions about matters of which I have knowledge and am willing to help direct a taxpayer to other areas of local or state government in order to acquire answers to questions that I am not able to answer.

I plan to identify groups and organizations that may allow the treasurer to share important information regarding taxes and the importance to you and the county of timely payment of taxes.

Accomplishing good communication with the taxpayers requires a commitment to be available in the office during the hours the office is open to the public and to be available to groups and organizations beyond regular business hours if necessary.

Q: What experience do you have that will help you better serve the residents as county treasurer?

A: I have three years of experience as an administrative assistant in a local law firm and 38 years of experience in banking. During the 38 years that I was a banker, I worked in various departments including teller, computer department, new accounts, lending and regulatory compliance.

I spent the last 20 years of my career in different levels of management and ended my career as a vice president of a large corporate bank with responsibilities for the retail management of 11 banks in central New Mexico.

Part of my responsibilities included training of the front line staff in regulations related to banking as well as specific job duties and a focus on customer service.

My experience is very helpful with the financial requirements of the treasurer’s office, including the responsibility to reconcile the checking accounts and the requirement that the treasurer act as adviser to the financial committee of the board of county commissioners in ways to invest any “excess” funds beyond current year’s budget requirements.

Personally, I have been actively involved in working for the future of Quay County for the last 45 years, my husband, Tony, and I have raised our children here and know many of the taxpayers in the county.

Q: What do you think is the top issue for the Quay County treasurer, and how would you address it?

A: The top issue at present for the county treasurer is to complete the upgrade of the computer software that we use to calculate, collect and record property taxes.

The county has started the process to upgrade this software and it is vital that we complete this process in a timely manner in order to continue to safely and efficiently assess, collect, record  and distribute taxes.

More current software will allow us to offer new products to the taxpayers such as debit/credit card processing and e-mail billing.

My experience with various types of financial technology allows me to work with the professionals who are working on this upgrade. I am anxious to continue as your treasurer so that I can stay involved with this upgrade and conversion through its completion.

Andrew M. Angel

Q: What do you think is the main function and purpose of the county treasurer?

A: To serve the residents of Quay County to the best of my abilities. Obviously, the main purpose is to collect property taxes and deposit all monies and invest monies prudently and efficiently.

(And) be accountable to taxpayers and taxing entities.

Q: Property taxes collected by the county treasurer’s office contribute a large portion of revenue to local governments and schools annually. What would you do to ensure the timely collection of these taxes?

A: I would faithfully ensure that all government agencies and schools would receive their monies in a timely and efficient manner.

My deputy will be properly trained to make sure this requirement will be properly executed in my absence.

Q: What changes, if any, do you think should be made to improve residents’ access to the services of the treasurer’s office?

A: Set up a web page detailing the services we provide and provide an open-door policy so the public knows they have access to my office always.

I would love to have on-line payments but alas, we do not have the money in our budget for that. If elected, I will strive to have that service enabled.

Q:  What will you do to ensure transparency in the treasurer’s office?

A: I will ensure internal control measures safeguarding your money (and) have checks and balances to ensure that your money is being handled in a professional manner.

Q: What experience do you have that will help you better serve the residents as county treasurer?

A: I have been a public servant for the past 24 years, having worked for the Postal Service during that time.

I have always put the public to the forefront during that time. I performed my duties above and beyond USPS’ expectations.

You, as the public, have witnessed me working at the service counter and know first hand what kind of service you can expect. I will treat everyone with respect and courtesy in a professional way unbiasedly.

Q: What do you think is the top issue for the Quay County treasurer, and how would you address it?

A: Hopefully, there won’t be any issues during my terms in office. My wife was in that office for 16 years and if I can come close to running that office as efficiently and professionally as she did, then the residents of Quay County will be dutifully served.

— Compiled by Senior Write Thomas Garcia

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