County will elect revenue commissioner in November

Published 5:07 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

In November, Chilton County voters will elect a new position to serve as Chilton County Revenue Commissioner.

The new role will combine two offices—those previously filled by the tax assessor and the tax collector.

“This new position will make everyone’s job easier,” current Tax Collector Tim Little said. “For the general public, when they come up to the window at the tax collector’s office, someone will wait on them. Right now, you could wait a little longer to find out you aren’t in the right place.”

Voters decided in 2010 by a vote of 7,856 to 6,435 that the offices of Tax Collector and Tax Assessor become one office of Revenue Commissioner.

Currently, Rex Cleckler serves as the tax assessor and Little serves as the tax collector. The newly elected revenue commissioner will not take office until Oct. 1, 2015, but voters will choose who should fill the position during the 2014 General Election.

On Feb. 7, the list of candidates running for revenue commissioner was finalized to include both Cleckler and Little and current Chilton County Commissioner Joe Headley.

All three names will appear on the primary election ballot in June.

There will be no position for Little or Cleckler should they not win the election.

According to both Little and Cleckler, only eight counties out of 67 in Alabama still have two offices of tax collector and tax assessor.

“The general idea of combining the two offices is that it saves money,” Little said.

The Chilton County Commission voted during the Feb. 10 meeting to set the salary for the new position at $65,000 a year.

“Right now, Tim and I have to work on a daily basis to accomplish our goals,” Cleckler said. “It is important that we have a good relationship. The person who is elected for the revenue commissioner position will have a huge role in the future of the county.”

Both Little and Cleckler said there has been some opposition about the new position from individuals who fear the workload would increase when the two offices combine.

“The new position will double the staff size because you are taking two offices and putting them together,” Cleckler said. “I have talked to other individuals in different counties who have already combined the two offices and it has been good to talk with them about some of the different things they have faced.”

Other concerns both Little and Cleckler have encountered from voters they have talked to is confusion about the new position.

“I have heard from different people I have talked to that they think this is a Chilton County Commission seat,” Little said. “I think because it has the name ‘commissioner’ in the position people are getting confused.”

Cleckler said he has also heard confusion but many of the other counties who have already combined the two offices call it a revenue commissioner.

“It is important that voters understand what it is they are voting for,” Cleckler said.

In Shelby County, the position is referred to as a Property Tax Commissioner.

The tax assessor’s duties entail assessing, appraisals and personal property and the tax collector’s duties involve collecting, tags and licensing.

The tax collector’s office collects ad valorem taxes on real property, personal property and manufactured homes. They collect funds and distribute them every 15 days to various entities.

Cleckler said for the tax assessor side, a new change will be collecting money.

“Right now, we only assess the property, we don’t collect the money which is what happens in the tax collector’s office,” Cleckler said.

For Little, a change would be working on assessing and appraisals.

“There has been a lot of different things discussed about this new position but ultimately I am excited about it,” Little said. “This is something that should have been done years ago.”