Treasurer: Adding tax administrator could help Boyle in many ways

Published 12:59 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

Boyle County Fiscal Court approved a request to increase staffing in its county treasurer’s office, in an effort to kill several birds with one stone.

On Tuesday, Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley introduced the plan to magistrates, who approved creating the assistant treasurer-occupational/net profits position.

“I sat down, with the help of the tax administrator, to create a position that could start doing some oversight of taxpayers for the collection process and the software that we’re using back there, and also help on the daily work that’s being done in the office. It becomes quite an onerous task,” Conley said to magistrates.

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Besides a new assistant treasurer-occupational/net profits position, her plan also more clearly defines the two positions within the tax administration office — a tax administrator and a part-time assistant tax administrator:

• An assistant treasurer-occupational/net profits position operates under the direction of the county treasurer. This person is responsible for the implementation and administration of the occupational license fee programs in Danville and Boyle County and “performs a comprehensive review on returns to ensure quarterly payroll withholdings and net profits payments are correct and follow-up if corrective action is needed.”

The position will be expected to work with businesses and self-employed individuals, the city of Danville, the county attorney, the Economic Development Partnership, the county information technology staff, and the Kentucky Secretary of State office.

An associate’s degree in Business Administration, with four years of related experience; or a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, or related field, with two years of related experience, is required.

• A tax administrator operates under the direction of the county treasurer, and the position requires someone with “two years of responsible in bookkeeping or accounting experience involving frequent contact with the public.”

A baccalaureate degree in accounting or finance can also be submitted with the evidence.

• A tax administrator assistant operates under the tax administrator. The position requires someone with a high school diploma or GED, with experience involving frequent contact with the public.

Adding the new position — with a requirement that the new person hold a relevant degree and have several years of experience — could accomplish several goals, Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley told members of the county’s Personnel Committee last Thursday.

One benefit would be improved reporting on business activity in the county, which could help the local Economic Development Partnership, Conley said.

“We should be doing a little bit more in-depth analyses of the businesses that are in our communities and how many businesses are actually coming on every year — we can do that, but it’s a laborious process to count and it’s not something we regularly track,” she said, adding that a new tax administrator could track exactly that, as well as keep tabs on what businesses are leaving the county. “That’s something that I could probably do, but I physically do not have the time to do everything when it comes to the finances of the county.”

Conley said the county “could be very helpful to the EDP” in helping it have a better understanding of “what possibly is working for the county out there” and where there may be “shortages.”

Conley said when the EDP was developing its long-term strategic economic development plan and wanted data on businesses, “we gave them the basic information they asked for” but couldn’t provide more thorough reporting.

“This position has been needed at least for the last couple of years just because of the direction we are going in economic development in Boyle County,” Conley said. “I think it’s number one, one way to work with the EDP and support the EDP in a little different fashion than just giving them money.”

The expanded staff would also help the fiscal court do better planning when it creates its annual budgets, and it could help the county to better monitor businesses to make sure the right amounts of payroll taxes are being collected, Conley said.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said he believes there are some businesses “slipping through the cracks” when it comes to paying local payroll taxes right now.

“I don’t think they’re intentionally doing it,” McKinney said.

Conley said a lot of small businesses “just don’t know” about local payroll taxes when they start up.

Something a new tax administrator would make possible is offering a tax amnesty program at some point in the future, allowing businesses that haven’t been paying their payroll taxes and are afraid of all the back taxes they would owe if they began paying to get set up properly without that fear, Conley said.

“I think there’s some things that this person can think of because of their background that may help in the overall collection process,” she said.

McKinney said he thinks the new position “will pay for itself.” 

Conley said by creating a tax administrator position with more required qualifications, the county could also set itself up with someone who could step into her own role, when the time comes for her to retire.

“I’m not saying that I’m leaving tomorrow, but I’ve got 25 years in,” she said. “I see this as maybe even being a stepping stone in training possible for the next county treasurer.”

“Don’t you be talking about leaving,” McKinney said.

If the fiscal court chose to implement Conley’s proposal, part of the funding for the new position could come from additional revenue the county will see thanks to the City of Danville increasing its payroll tax. The county collects payroll taxes on behalf of the city and charges a fee to do so.

Conley said based on her calculations, the county should get about $25,000 more annually thanks to the city’s increase. If the county puts in some additional funds of its own, it could create the new position with minimal cost, she said.

The committee did not vote on how much the new position would be paid. It recommended that the fiscal court consider defining the new positions as proposed by Conley, and that discussions on what the pay would be could happen after that.

Conley said if the new position could be created and hired within a few months, they could be on-board when major changes due to Danville’s tax increases happen in early 2018. That would be valuable experience for the new tax administrator, she said.

Kendra Peek contributed to this article.