Editor’s Note: The following are unedited responses from Miller County Assessor candidates Tonya Bohn and Joyce Dennington. Each candidate was allowed a total of 500 words to distribute as they saw fit among their responses to the same five questions. The primary election is May 24.
This story has been corrected. Because of an editing error, a version in Thursday’s print edition omitted Tonya Bohn’s response to the question, Why are you running for office? The Gazette regrets the error.
Why are you running for office?
Tonya Bohn: I am seeking the Office of Miller County Assessor to ensure that the county provides its residents with fair, equal and nonbiased assessment of their property, while providing the support our county needs to thrive and be productive. Believing as a Christian that a good leader/elected official is first a servant to their people. I have the leadership skills to serve Miller County with Dignity, Integrity and Dedication.
Joyce Dennington: I am a life-long resident of Miller County as well as a previous business owner. Along with my husband we owned and managed rental property. I have built a business from the ground up; you might remember Bodine's All-American Diner. I fully understand the hardship we face in these difficult economic times. I want to be an advocate for the citizens of Miller County, to ensure that you are being appraised and assessed fairly and correctly, as well as ensuring that you are receiving all the discounts and credits available, in compliance with Arkansas State Statute. Since 2018, I have dedicated my life to obtain the necessary Education and Experience to better serve you the taxpayers of Miller County.
What are your qualifications to become Miller County Assessor?
Bohn: 20 years' experience in office administration and management. I retain outstanding leadership and time management skills.
Knowledge and ability to create, implement and manage an office budget.
Employed with Miller County Clerk's Office for the past five years as Deputy Clerk and three years prior in elections.
Experienced with five years' utilization and knowledge of the ESRI and the Act Data Scout/One Mapp mapping system, which I use on a daily work basis. This is the mapping system that is shared among many offices of the county including the Assessor's Office. I recently completed training classes for Assessor I, Assessor II and Assessor III with Act Data Scout.
Establishing working relationships with many of the offices that work hand in hand with the Assessor's office (from the work I do now).
Serving for the County Clerk's Office during the Board of Equalization Appeals, I am knowledgeable of the purpose, process and function of the Board of Equalization. I will treat Miller County residents fairly, equally and nonbiased.
Dennington: Served 3½ years as Deputy Assessor Miller County
08/21 Completed the Two-Year Arkansas State Assessment Training Program (Little Rock AACD)
Arkansas State Certified Level Four Senior Appraiser
County Board of Equalization Certified
Completed 7-IAAO (International Association of Assessing Officers) classes successfully and received Certifications in: Fundamentals of Real Property Appraisal, Assessment of Personal Property, Income Approach to Valuation, Marshall & Swift Commercial, National USPAP, Fundamentals of Mass Appraisal, and Appraisal of Land
May 5-6, 2022, Attended the ACT & DATASCOUT/ONE MAP Conference
If elected, what would be your top priorities?
Bohn: Ensure you we are here to assist you and support our County Government in providing services to our residents.
Utilize an electronic data base to archive and protect paper files and reports. This will protect the integrity of documents in case of a disaster or state of emergency and provide easier transportation if needed.
Provide and encourage "relief" training for the deputies in the Assessor's office to be able to fulfill a designated coworker's job duties. This will allow the office not to be challenged in an employee's absence.
Create a shared source of information for the small business owners of our County. This will provide the information about which certifications, licensing, and tax responsibilities that are required by the County, State and if applicable the City of Texarkana, Arkansas. I believe by providing this information they will be prepared for a stronger start to ensure greater success in their business ventures and assist in relieving the anxiety of the unknown business expenditures.
Host a quarterly in service for seniors and military veterans that are preparing to apply for their tax benefits. Providing the resident with accurate information and explanation of available benefits to help them make a more informed decision of which would best serve their needs.
Retain the open-door policy that Miller County Assessors Mary Stuart and Nancy Herron have always provided. If you have a question or concern about your assessment come and see me. Let us review it together.
Dennington: First priority is having a well-trained team, in order for the office to function effectively, continuing education, training and cross training will be expected of every staff member. The main focus of the Assessor's Office will be to provide the best service to our citizens.
Complete the digitalization of all our county records maintained by the Assessor's Office. I will continue to implement improvement to our computer systems, making it more online friendly.
Some simple changes, create voicemail, display the discounts and credits available to our Seniors and the disabled in the office where it will be noticeable.
What is your message to Miller County taxpayers?
Bohn: No response
Dennington: Experience Matters: especially when it comes to your tax dollars!
When I became a Deputy Assessor for Miller County, I choose to equip myself with all the education and training needed to better serve the citizens of Miller County. I believe every Miller County taxpayer deserves an Assessor who has the qualifications, certifications and on the job experience specific to the Assessor's Office.
What, if any, changes to Arkansas' property tax system would you support?
Bohn: No response
Dennington: THE only property tax system changes that I would support, will be changes that benefit the citizens of Miller County. NO NEW TAXES.
This story has been corrected. Because of an editing error, an earlier version omitted Tonya Bohn's response to the question, Why are you running for office? The Gazette regrets the error.