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The Carthage Press
  • For Jasper County Collector

  • Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination for Jasper County Collector, long-time incumbent Stephen Holt and Joplin businessman David Crocker.
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  • Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination for Jasper County Collector, long-time incumbent Stephen Holt and Joplin businessman David Crocker.
    Since there is no Democrat running for the office, the Republican Primary will likely decide the winner of the office in the November general election. According to the Jasper County Collector's website, the County Collector is responsible for the collection of current and delinquent property taxes for the various political subdivisions and taxing entities of the county.
    The collector also collects merchant license fees, and railroad and utility taxes. The collector is charged with the duties of collecting the taxes due, as shown on the Assessor's records, and then distributes the funds monthly to the various taxing entities.
    The Carthage Press sent each of the two candidates a questionnaire with basic questions about the candidate's background and qualifications for the job.
    Here are their answers.
     
    Name: David L. Crocker            
    Q. How long have you lived in Jasper County?    
    A. 32 years
    Q. Talk about your background, family?    
    A. I was born in Carthage, MO, and lived there until age 14, when my father, Lee Crocker, who was with Southwestern Bell, was transferred to KC, MO, and then to Springfield. This is where I met my wife of 40 years, Debbie. We have one son, BJ. He and his family live in Webb City.
    Debbie and I moved to Joplin in 1982 due to a job transfer. For the last 22 years, we have owned a business selling printer cartridges.
    My background is in sales and business management. We are proud to have been pioneers in the toner cartridge recycling industry in SW Missouri.
    Q. What qualifies you to be the collector?
    A. I view the Collector’s office as a customer service branch of Jasper County government. My 40 years in sales, the last 22 of those as a successful business owner, has given me the skills to efficiently manage an office and employees, and to treat the citizens of Jasper County with the courtesy and respect they deserve.
    Q. Why do you want to be collector?
    A. I believe a fresh set of eyes is needed in the Collector’s office to improve efficiency and ensure the taxpayers are treated courteously and respectfully. I will also update the office technologically in order to ensure prompt, efficient, and accurate service to the taxpayer.
    On Sept. 21, 1998, the Jasper County Commission resolved that “all persons dealing with the county shall make their checks payable to the office with whom they are dealing, and not to the individual person who holds the office”.
    Page 2 of 4 - This resolution was filed to resolve an issue that resulted in the current collector being removed from office by court order in Oct. 1998.
    Since he was unopposed in the 1998 primary election, he was reelected to office in November of that year.
    Still today, the collector asks for checks to be made to him personally. The resolution of the commission has been totally ignored.
    One of the main reasons I am running for collector is, I will finally offer the citizens of Jasper County a choice for the office of collector.
    Q. What makes a good collector?
    A. The collector must be available, in person, by phone, or email to help the taxpayers with issues they have. I firmly believe in responding to the citizens personally, promptly, and courteously.
    He must also have empathy with the citizens, and excellent customer service skills to handle issues quickly and accurately.
    A good collector will constantly explore new, low cost ways to keep the taxpayers informed of upcoming deadlines, and also to reduce the incidence of delinquent taxes, which are costly to the county as well as the collector’s office.
    Q. What special challenges/benefits do you see coming for the collector's office?
    A. The biggest challenges I see are, again, reducing the delinquent tax rolls, and updating technology in the office. The use of social media in the office to, for instance, send reminders of upcoming deadlines will help eliminate the frustration of penalties and late fees for the taxpayer.
    Modern technology can also be the biggest benefit to the collector’s office if the collector is willing to explore new opportunities to improve efficiency and service.
    Q. Anything else you'd like to tell the public about you, your qualifications?
    A. As Jasper County Collector, I will offer a different experience, a better experience, making your dealings with the collector’s office more courteous, efficient and respectful.
     
    Name: Stephen H. Holt
    Q. How long have you lived in Jasper County?
    A. I am a lifelong Jasper County resident. Born and raised in Carthage, I am a graduate of Carthage High School and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Management/Marketing) from Missouri Southern State University.
    Q. Talk about your background, family?
    A. I currently reside in Joplin with my wife Cathy and have been married for 38 years, and attend Park Plaza Christian Church in Joplin. We are the parents of a son, Christopher and his wife Kristin (Smith) Holt, and a daughter Lindsey (Holt) Hartley and her husband Zack. We are the grandparents of six grandchildren. I am a member of the Missouri Southern State University Alumni Association and past board member. Also a member of the MSSU Lionbackers and a steering committee member.
    Page 3 of 4 - Q. What qualifies you to be the collector?
    A. As your Jasper County Collector I have continued to upgrade and make improvements to the office. My staff and I have always strived to serve the citizens of Jasper County in a courteous, prompt and efficient manner. We strive for the upmost in taxpayer satisfaction and service.
    As Collector, I have changed all Collector Funds to interest bearing accounts. I audit daily with the Jasper County Auditor and maintain two permanent offices for taxpayer convenience, one in Carthage and the other in Joplin. My office collects taxes for 12 Jasper County cities, allowing taxpayers the opportunity to make only one payment instead of multiple payments.
    I've strived to improve the technology in the office, established on-line payment system, established the Jasper County Collector website and placed the annual tax sale on it. We now accept debit and credit cards and have installed two drop boxes for after hour payment convenience.
    We have connected to the Missouri Department of Revenue website to allow payments to be made on-line to renew motor vehicle registrations with that office. We provide prompt taxpayer receipt returns. In 2013 established payment of taxes by phone. Distribution of taxes to the various taxing entities on the first or second business day of the following month, rather than the 15th day as previously done.
    Q. Why do you want to be collector?
    A. I take my office and the duties seriously. In collecting in excess of $70 million per year, you have to keep accurate records and distribute to the taxing entities promptly and accurately. It is my sincere desire to continue to serve as your Jasper County Collector of Revenue, and to continue to provide courteous, prompt and professional service to the citizens of Jasper County. I pledge to continue to bring technological improvements and to build on the improvements that have already been established in the office. I would sincerely appreciate your vote and support on August 5th in the Republican Primary election.
    Q. What makes a good collector?
    A. Being a good collector means serving the citizens of Jasper County in a prompt, courteous and efficient manner. As collector, you have to be informed of any changes in the laws of the office and to gather new information that might help in the operation of the office. I believe that being involved on the state and national level provides an opportunity to learn and visit with your peers on any new ideas or improved innovations for the collection of taxes.
    I am a member of the Missouri County Collectors’ Association and have served as the State President. The first collector from Jasper County to serve in this capacity. I am a member and Past National President of the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Finance Officers. I am a member and past State President of the Missouri Association of Counties. I am currently the Missouri representative on the board of the National Association of Counties, and most recently appointed to the Finance Committee and elected as Chairman of the Audit Committee.
    Page 4 of 4 - Q. What special challenges/benefits do you see coming for the collector's office?
    A. To continue to serve the taxpayers of Jasper County with more technological improvements. Continue to gain and implement new improvements in tax collections and distributions.
    Q. Anything else you'd like to tell the public about you, your qualifications?
    A. On July 10, 2014, I was presented the Victor E. Martinelli Award as the most outstanding Collector  in the nation. This is based on the service and operations of the office and for service to good County Government. Nominations are made by your peers and judging done by an independent panel of judges nationwide. It is present by the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Finance Officers.

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