Note to readers: This is one in a series of question and answer articles about local candidates running for office. The unedited responses are below.
Treasurer Cindy A. George is running for an eighth term in office. She is facing a challenge by Richard Walker, District 3 representative on the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors.
What improvements would you make to the office?
As the current Treasurer, I am always seeking avenues to better serve the taxpayers of Shenandoah County. I have made many improvements in my 28 years as Treasurer. I was instrumental in the implementation of twice-a-year billing in 1999, the elimination of the county decal; online bill pay; acceptance of debit/credit cards as well as the installation of a drop box for 24/7 payment ability. I am currently working on a program that will assist our taxpayers who find themselves unable to pay their taxes on time, along with implementation of payment by E-Check. I listen to my constituents suggestions and try to implement as many recommendations as possible. Doing the job every day puts me in a unique position to realize the improvements that can be implemented effectively.
What should the county and state do to help the office improve?
As Treasurer, I have an excellent working relationship with both County and State agencies, including the Division of Motor Vehicles, Local Government Investment Pool, Auditor of Public Accounts and others. We communicate and respect each other's position which makes for effective implementation of improvements. As an elected official, there is a distinct separation of duties between the local governing body - the Board of Supervisors and the Treasurer. As long as the lines of communication are open, improvements can be made to benefit the locality as well as our citizens.
Why do feel you should serve as treasurer?
As Treasurer for the past 28 years, and with my 39 years of experience in the office, I am the ONLY candidate who can effectively serve our citizens from day one after the election. I have the knowledge and experience to know what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis. I have a positive working relationship with our citizens. Our citizens know that they will be greeted with a smile and will be treated with respect when they come into the Treasurer's office. I strongly feel that all taxpayers should be treated fairly and equitably. With my knowledge of the office, as well as the state code, I have implemented sound policies and procedures that accomplish this.
I have achieved Master Treasurer Certification. My office has been accredited by the Treasurer's Association of Virginia since 2003. The accreditation criteria includes: no material financial weaknesses in the audit, required continuing education for the Treasurer and staff members, high collection rates and numerous other criteria. My tax collection record speaks for itself. I have an overall tax collection rate of 98%. The citizens can be assured that with my continued service, I will seek avenues for tax collection so that the few who do not pay will not place the burden on the majority that DO pay. Re-electing Cindy A. George as Treasurer will ensure that there will be no valuable time spent on training or assisting someone else to fill the position.