Archived Story

Voters reject tax accessor, collector office merge

Published 9:39am Friday, September 13, 2013

By Charles Molineaux

HUNTSVILLE – Madison County’s separate offices of the tax assessor and the tax collector will remain separate, county voters decided in a special election.

Now, one candidate is already running for the tax assessor’s job. Realtor Cliff Mann announced on Thursday he intends to seek the post, running as a Republican. On Sept. 10, voters rejected a proposal to combine the two positions into a single office of revenue commissioner in charge of both assessing property values and collecting property taxes.

“I think people spoke pretty decisively,” responded Madison County Commissioner Roger Jones.

The initiative, supported by County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, was prompted by state legislation (HB616) which, subject to voter approval, would have merged the offices, as well as by the pending retirement of the current assessor Fran Hamilton, creating an opportunity to reduce costs by replacing two paid jobs with only one.

“I would love to have made the change now that we have the vacant spot,” said Commissioner Eddie Sisk. “But, as it is, we’ll have to live with it.”

“I think the voters made a good decision,” responded County Tax Collector Linda Hall.

Hall said she would have been willing to run for the new position if it had been created, but that merging the offices would not have saved money.

Pam Mayo, chief clerk in the tax collector’s office, agreed.

“You’re talking 75 employees,” she said. “For all them to be cross trained, that’s difficult.”

Strong accepted the election results saying “Madison County will be fine going this direction.”

Cliff Mann said he had been waiting for the election results before moving forward with his plans. An associate with Averbuch Realty in Owens Cross Roads, he said he started considering running for assessor upon news of Fran Hamilton’s retirement.

“I grew up in the area,” he said. “I love the people. I’ve been in the business over 20 years. I’ve gained knowledge of land and real estate and people in the area and I want to apply my skills that way.”

The Republican primary will be on June 3 of next year.

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