Candidates for Southampton County Treasurer
Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Two women are seeking the office of Treasurer in Southampton County. The Tidewater News asked them the following questions: 1. Their name and position they are seeking. 2. What qualities and experience do you possess that make you a good candidate for Treasurer? 3. What are the most pressing issues facing the Treasurer, and what would you propose to specifically address those issues? 4. What do you see as the greatest strengths of the current department, and what would you specifically propose to expand upon those strengths?
1. Cynthia Jarratt Edwards, Southampton County Treasurer
2. The qualities and experience that I possess that make me a good candidate for the County Treasurer:
Formally Educated – ODU BS Business Administration/Communication
Presently – Accountant, Southampton County; Assistant Treasurer, Sedley Baptist Church; Treasurer, Sedley Baptist Church Local Ministries; President, Virginia Master Naturalist Historic Southside Chapter; Vice Chair, Western Tidewater Community Services Board
Past Experience – Finance; Accounting; Taxes; Office Management; Human Resources; Leadership; Fiscal Accountability; Extensive Communication Skills; Community Involved; Union Camp Corporation; International Paper; Whitewood Timber Products LLC; Jarratt Builders
There are many qualities and experiences that I possess which make me a good candidate for the County Treasurer position. Both of my degrees well educated me with multiple office management skills and communications skills necessary to run the Treasurer’s Office in today’s world. I have a diverse work history, which includes working for private industry from a multi-million dollar corporation down to working for a small business, as well as, working for a public entity (Southampton County). Also, I have a vast knowledge of leadership and management skills from holding offices and working in church organizations and civic organizations. I am motivated to get things done. I worked both a full-time job and a part-time job while earning my degrees from Old Dominion University. I am an honest, hard-working woman who goes the extra mile with a smile, and will stay motivated to do the best possible job for Southampton County. A new set of eyes is a valuable set of eyes.
3. One of the most pressing issues facing the Treasurer’s Office is collecting back taxes. I will put in place ALL methods of collecting back taxes, as I do not condone writing off taxes. One of the best solutions for not having to collect back taxes is putting a plan in place to keep the citizens on track with their payments. Therefore, I would propose sending out the tax bills earlier with a payment plan included in with the bill. If the payment coupon and payment are sent in every month, then when Dec. 5 rolls around, the taxpayer is up to date. Sending out payment plans BEFORE the taxes are due will prevent late fees and interest if the payments are made as scheduled. Having payments received on time will cut down on the hours spent by office staff trying to collect back taxes.
4. One of the greatest opportunities for the Treasurer’s Office is maintaining a steady flow of tax revenue to pay the bills throughout the year. There are several ways this can be accomplished. One method would be to collect taxes multiple times a year. Another method would be to offer an incentive to have payments come in throughout the year. By having a steady flow of tax revenue, we could eliminate paying interest on loans to get the county through the year.
Also, cutting cost is a great opportunity for the Treasurer’s Office. One example is mailing the personal property bill and the real estate bill together in the same envelope. This cuts down not only on envelopes, but postage as well.
Another opportunity is serving each and every citizen with the best possible customer service every time. As quoted from Julie A. Walker: “A smile is worth a thousand words.” Making each customer feel respected and appreciated goes a long way to ease the burden of paying taxes.
1. Rhonda Vinson Griffin, seeking re-election as Treasurer for Southampton County.
2. Before becoming Treasurer of Southampton County, I served as David K. Britt’s Chief Deputy Treasurer for 13-½ years. During that time I earned my certification as Master Governmental Deputy Treasurer from the University of Virginia, and I am currently working toward my certification to become a Master Governmental Treasurer. As being chief deputy, I handled all bank accounts for the county, as well as assisting residents at the counter. I also handled research for the Treasurer and helped co-workers with any customer and balancing issues. I started my career in the Treasurer’s Office in 2005, after 22-½ years in the financial industry which was a great asset when coming to work for David K. Britt.
3. The most pressing issues facing the Treasurer’s office are delinquent taxes and solid waste fees. My goal is to find new avenues in order to collect delinquent taxes and solid waste. Right now I am in talks with a company to collect from citizens that have relocated to another state and how we can implement this program. I am also working with the Treasurer’s Association of Virginia to get legislation passed at the federal level to withhold IRS refunds. The office now participates in a similar program with the state. I always try to assist residents in making payment plans to help ease the burden on the taxpayers and to allow them to make payments, along with prepayments towards taxes or solid waste. I currently work with the citizens on the solid waste and working on different ways to collect. I want my office to be proactive to help the citizens with the solid waste.
4. The greatest opportunities for the Treasurer’s Office is our relationships we build with the citizens of Southampton County. Being born and raised in Southampton County, it is important to me to maintain a good working relationship with the citizens of my community. Whether it be getting more information to the citizens or just greeting them with a smile. I feel sometimes citizens just need to be heard. It’s a key part on how we can serve them better. That is why we are here, to assist in any way possible.