During budget talks, our leaders will often tell us how lean the budget is, with no wiggle room and nothing to cut. While looking for funds for heightened green-space studies and awareness summits, perhaps they could consider this:


In Henderson County, Tax Collector and Assessor Stan Duncan retired. Longtime employee Darlene Burgess was appointed interim tax collector, and County Manager Steve Wyatt assumed the role of managing the tax department. Wyatt said under his leadership he would be streamlining things, integrating modern technology, and probably not filling some vacancies. While the current arrangement might be functional, it is not permissible:


A permanent tax collector must still be appointed, and undergo state-mandated training and classes before passing a test, County Attorney Russ Burrell explained.



In Haywood County, the tax collector doesn’t seem to think his job is a fulltime gig.


Commissioners stumbled into a conversation about [Tax Collector Mike] Matthews’ work attendance after he didn’t show up to make his regular monthly report on tax collections at the county meeting Monday evening.


Coworkers claimed Matthews wasn’t in his office over half the time.


“So what’s the problem?” Matthews said. “Our numbers are as good or better than they have been. Our collections are up and we have done less foreclosures than we have ever done before.”


From a procedural standpoint, things are not moving as swimmingly as we would like to believe. November’s numbers were down because some invoices went out late, and then the tax bills went out later than usual, too. In a few months, we should have the data to see if, in this experiment, there is any difference between a traditional tax department and one with its collector MIA half the time.