What Does A County Collector Do?
By Mike Scott
After 28 years in office, Clark County Collector Twila Harper decided it was time to spend more time with her family, and especially, her grandkids.
“I’m 74 years old, and I’ve paid into retirement for years. It’s time to enjoy it,” said Harper.
Her retirement leaves an election race between Republican Michelle Allen and Democrat Debbie Winters for the job of Collector. But was does a collector do, anyhow?
We asked Twila to explain her job.
“I collect and disperse the taxes for the county and three cities-Revere, Luray and Wyaconda. I also collect for three drainage and levy districts-The Des Moines-Mississippe Levy District, the Mississippi-Fox Levy District and the Gregory Drainage District.
In addition, the Collector sells auctioneer licenses and county merchant licenses, and conducts sales for delinquent taxes.
The Collector has one full-time assistant throughout the year, and usually three part-timers help during tax season, in December and January.
“We collect pretty close to six million dollars per year.”
The office will print about 13,000 tax statements starting in October.
In addition to all the tax -time work, the office is busy year round with people checking records, and financial institutions and real estate agents checking on taxes.
Things have changed a lot since Harper was elected.
In my first year, we wrote every tax statement by hand. We had huge township books, and a lot of farmers would own land in a dozen places. It was awful,” Harper said.
In 1984, we got our first computer to print statements.
The collectors’ elected term runs four years, and begins March 1.
That gives us two months to get the books and reports
done,” Harper said. An audit will be performed when the new collector is installed, and all new accounts will be established. The new collector will be required to attend training in April.
It’s a great job, and I have really enjoyed the support of the community,” she said.