County treasurer candidates respond to questions

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asked county treasurer candidates to answer the following questions in 200 words or less. The answers were edited for grammar and style. The general election is Nov. 4.

Democrat

Kathrynn Tate

Age: 59

Occupation: Farmer/rancher, small business owner

Elected offices held: Curry County Commission

• Give a description of the responsibilities of the office for which you are running.

The treasurer is required to keep account of all moneys received and disbursed; regular accounts of all checks and warrants drawn on the treasury and paid; and all of the books, papers and moneys pertaining to this office ready for inspection by County Commissioners at all times.
The county treasurer is ex-officio county collector for all county revenues. County revenues are also distributed by the county treasurer. Major revenues consist of property and other taxes, various fees, licenses and revenues from the state and federal government. The treasurer is responsible for the collection of taxes, penalties and interest due under the property tax code. The treasurer is ex-officio tax collector for the county, state or municipality by and with the advice and consent of the board of county finance. The treasurer has supervision of the deposits and safekeeping of public moneys. This includes investment functions so that the highest rate of return can be maximized. I believe that my experience gives me the qualifications to perform these duties.

• What changes will you bring to the office?

I pledge to bring honesty and integrity to the treasurer’s office to regain the trust of the taxpayers in Curry County. I will work with the staff in my office to provide a friendly and responsive attitude. I will install a system of checks and balances to ensure that all funds are accounted for and will comply with the state auditor’s regulations and policies.

• What is the most common complaint residents have with the office? How would you address that?

While visiting with the residents in Curry County the missing funds from the county fair are questioned. There seems to be a lack of trust and confidence in that office. I believe that elected officials should have very high standards of fiscal management, and I will make every effort to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayers’ money.

• The county manager has removed the county treasurer’s office from collecting funds from the county fair. Should the county treasurer’s office take back the responsibility of collecting those funds?

No. The county manager and fair manager are responsible for collecting the funds from the county fair. They are required by state statute to be deposited with the county treasurer within 24 hours of receipt and the treasurer makes certain that they are deposited in the proper account. I will work with the county manager and the county commission to inset policies that insure irregularities don’t happen again.

• What services do you think the treasurer’s office can perform better?

I will strive to provide the most courteous, professional and efficient service for the needs of Curry County residents. I will ensure that we have a system with the proper checks and balances in the handling of county funds and pledge to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ moneys with fiscal accountability.

Republican

Bernice Baker

Age: 59

Occupation: Chief deputy treasurer in county treasurer’s office