Treasurer race about different experiences

By Jack King: CNJ Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of question and answer sessions with county office candidates.

The county treasurer’s duties include collecting taxes in the county and maintaining a bond fund account and a general fund account. The treasurer also is responsible for the safekeeping, disbursement and payment of the collected money, said County Treasurer Linda Hall.

Rhonda Bookout and Beni Dampier are Republicans running against each other in the June 1 primary. Rachel Toney is a Democrat and will run unopposed in the primary.

Qualifications:

Rhonda Bookout: I’ve lived in Curry County for 37 years. I have 20-years bookkeeping experience at the Clovis Veterinary Hospital and nine years experience in the county clerk’s office, in the Bureau of Elections. I left there in June.

Beni Dampier: I’ve worked with the Curry County clerk’s office for 13 years as a records supervisor, microfilm technician, marriage license clerk and bookkeeper. I also worked for a certified public accountant in Lamar County, Texas, and I was employed by the tax assessor/collector in Lamar County.
I have experience in bookkeeping, general ledger and accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and budgeting. I also have the ability to work with auditors.

Rachel Toney: I’ve worked in the treasurer’s office for 11 years, as chief deputy treasurer since 1996. I feel I’ve had two very good teachers, Joyce Deavours and Linda Hall, and hands-on experience.
The treasurer has to work with the state property tax division and hold annual auctions of delinquent tax properties. I believe one of the most important skills she could have is to be familiar with the laws and regulations of the state of New Mexico, which I am. Plus, to have good computer and adding machine skills, which I do.

Changes:

Rhonda Bookout: 1) I would keep the office open between noon and 1 p.m. The treasurer’s office should be open the same hours other offices in the courthouse are. 2) I’m planning to look into sending out tax bills in-house rather than using an outside company to do it. It might not be more economical to do it in the office, but it should be looked into. 3) I would install a new computer program, GASB 34. It’s a special reporting standard that takes accounts from cash to a modified accrual basis. I’ve been talking to Mike Hoffacket, of Triadic, the county’s data programer, about it. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I know what’s out there.

Beni Dampier: I would stay open during the lunch hour to better serve the public. I would provide friendly accurate information. I would look into sending out tax bills in office, rather than hiring an outside company to do it. I believe you have to live within the budget the commissioners give you. I don’t believe facilities do that now.

Rachel Toney: I wouldn’t make any changes. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

Contributions:

• Rachel Toney
Treasurer: Linda Hall
Contributions received: $100
Amount spent: $700

• Beni Dampier:
Treasurer: self
Contributions received: $500
Amount spent: $2,300

• Rhonda Bookout:
Treasurer: self
Contributions received: $1,750
Amount spent: $2,000