Challenger touts her 18 years of experience
After working in the Clark County treasurer’s office for the last 18 years, Renee Schoen decided this year she will run for the elected treasurer’s position herself. Her goals as treasurer, she said, are to be a reliable and accurate handler of the county’s finances, a source for city and township officials who need assistance with tax matters, and to improve service to the public within the office.
Schoen is running as a Republican for the treasurer’s seat, and will face incumbent Mary Domanico in an Aug. 11 primary election. The winner of that will be the presumptive treasurer for the next four years, as there are no candidates this year on the Democratic ticket.
Schoen is currently the county’s tax lister, and one of two employees who work under the treasurer. Among her main duties is to handle daily changes to property ownership of parcels, to prepare annual tax rolls for municipalities, and to print the approximately 33,000 annual real estate tax bills and 5,000 personal property tax bills that are sent to property owners each December.
Schoen worked for the first 14 years of her time in the office under nowretired treasurer Kathryn Brugger. When she began the job in 2002, much of the work was still done by hand, she said, with the office gradually becoming computerized over time. Even now, though, Schoen said, she still draws maps of new parcels by hand to include in the records as an added layer of information.
Brugger, Schoen said, “was a great inspiration to me. Under her guidance, I was taught many things. I am grateful she passed her knowledge on to me.”
Schoen said she has worked closely with the county’s municipal clerks and treasurers over the years, and been to various training sessions for her work as tax lister. She even attended a conference with surveyors, she said, to see what their needs are as they record parcel descriptions.
“It’s always good to learn how other people are putting their legal descriptions together,” Schoen said.
Under Brugger, Schoen said the treasurer’s office employees were crosstrained so they could work better as a team.
“We learned how to do each others’ job so when one person was gone for the day, you could pick up for them,” Schoen said.
While the treasurer and deputy treasurer work more with the county’s finances and perform such tasks as handling daily county department receipts and payments, Schoen works on the tax listing/tax billing side of the office. Her numbers have to agree with those of the various property assessors working in the county, and all must be matched before she submits reports to the state Department of Revenue.
Schoen said her intimate knowledge of the tax listing process has prepared her to move up to the treasurer’s spot.
“I feel that my knowledge with the tax listing is the basis for all the land questions and issues that may arise,” Schoen said. As such, she said, she can be a valuable resource for city, village and town officers who may need questions answered. Also, she said, if she is elected treasurer, the county would need to hire a new tax lister, and “who better than myself to train a new person?”
One area Schoen said she would focus on would be helping property owners who are delinquent on their tax payments. Many times, she said, a property owner cannot pay their full amount due at the first installment deadline at the end of January, and thus have an overdue amount when the second installment is due at the end of July.
Schoen said a notice of delinquency is not sent out to those taxpayers until August. She would send those out in February, she said, with information on how taxpayers could get their bill paid before they incur penalties and interest.
“We’ve had more delinquencies in recent years than we’ve ever had,” Schoen said.
She said taxpayers should be told that they can pay monthly, or would even be better off to pay a partial amount if they can’t cover the full bill.
“There are other options out there that may help these people,” she said. “I would like to work a little closer with these people before they get to that stage of delinquency.”
When Brugger retired four years ago, Schoen said she did not run for the treasurer’s seat then because she felt there was a qualified candidate already in the race and Schoen’s husband was ill. Four years later, she’s running now because she said she feels “changes that were made were not necessarily for the betterment of the taxpayers.”
Schoen said she would focus on customer service as treasurer.
“I always like to be nice to people, and it hurts me to see people treated less than what they should be,” she said. “Every taxpayer that comes in there is important and I just feel they should be treated as such.”
Schoen also said she would take steps to ensure the treasurer’s office has enough checks and balances in place to catch any errors.
“I am very detailed. Every little thing has to match,” Schoen said. “I want the treasurer’s office to be more accountable for the accuracy of financial documents that are going out of the office. The consistency is not there right now.”
Schoen said her lengthy experience in the treasurer’s office best prepares her for the job.
“I feel I’m the better candidate because of my 18 years of experience, also because of my honesty, accuracy, patience and kindness,” she said.