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Endorsement: Kate Berger for Pittsylvania County Treasurer

(SouthsideCentral Policy: SouthsideCentral accepts all political advertisements. Any candidate who chooses to place their ads on SouthsideCentral are told directly that their advertising will not influence the endorsement process in any manner. Kate Berger has advertised on SouthsideCentral.)

Kate Berger won a four-way election last year to officially finish out the term of Pittsylvania County Treasurer and is now running for a full four-year term of office. She’s done a great job so far and SouthsideCentral is endorsing her reelection.

After a little over 19 months on the job as Pittsylvania County Treasurer, Kate Berger has implemented changes that have been beneficial to Pittsylvania County and has proposals for ideas in the works. Berger’s opponent, Vincent Shorter, has criticized some of those initiatives.

Berger has started to use a collection agency to work on delinquent taxpayers. That idea has worked well for other areas in the region, including Danville (which uses the same agency). Berger uses the collection agency after no effort has been made to pay the taxes, but also is willing to set up a payment plan if a taxpayer asks for one. Shorter originally criticized this idea as costing money because the collection agency would take part of the payment as their cut, but that was shown to be false as the agency applies a surcharge to the tax bill and pockets that money. After having his claim proven false, Shorter then said that sending delinquent accounts to the collection agency just increased the payment burden on taxpayers who couldn’t pay the bill in the first place. I reject that argument because a lot of people simply don’t pay their taxes until forced to. Shorter also says that he would work out payment plans with all taxpayers, but that’s what Berger does already. It’s unrealistic to think that Shorter and his staff would be able to proactively contact each delinquent taxpayer to set up a payment plan.  Berger’s use of the collection agency has been able to free up staff for other duties and has resulted in a large amount of delinquent taxes to be collected.

Berger has also proposed that the county invest its general fund balance in a pool of corporate and governmental bonds. This proposal would increase the rate of return over the county’s current policy of simple investing in certificates of deposit. Originally, Berger’s opponent highly criticized this proposal as “putting taxpayer money in the stock market”, and that was simply false. Berger went on the offensive on that claim and showed the error of Shorter’s statement. Now, Shorter says that it’s still putting taxpayer money into an element of risk. While technically that’s true, the risk is infinitesimal at best. Since the Virginia Investment Pool is highly diversified and only uses the highest-rated bonds, the entire bond market (and the national economy) would have to spectacularly collapse for taxpayer money to be lost. That’s just not going to happen. I summarily dismiss Shorter’s claim of “putting taxpayer money at risk”.

Shorter does have a good point about decreasing the number of mailings that the treasurer’s office has to mail out and Berger agrees with that. Both candidates also agree with making the Treasurer’s office more online-friendly. We agree with both candidates on this issue.

When it comes to experience, I give the edge to Berger on this because she’s been doing the job for a while now, but this is a job that Shorter could pick up as he goes. I also found it interesting that retired treasurer Teresa Easley endorsed Shorter, but her letter to the editor had no concrete reasons except that Shorter is an excellent man. While I agree with her evaluation of Shorter’s character, Easley gives me no reason he would be better than Berger.

Berger has delivered on her campaign promises and improved the collection efficiency of the Treasurer’s office. Based on all I’ve said above, I believe Kate Berger is the best candidate for Pittsylvania County Treasurer in this election. She’s well-deserving of a full four-year term.

SouthsideCentral gives Kate Berger our highest endorsement and we strongly encourage all Pittsylvania County residents to vote for her on Tuesday, November 3rd.


3 comments to Endorsement: Kate Berger for Pittsylvania County Treasurer

  • Lee Smallwood

    I had an issue I needed help with from the treasurer’s office. I was taken aback when Ms. Berger herself answered the phone and gave me all of the help I needed, even anticipating the next question and the question after that. We have a good one in this job. I don’t know Mr. Shorter. Maybe he’d be just fine. I’m more than happy to go with the person I know for sure is doing a great job, though. I will be voting for Ms. Berger.

  • Pittsvyvania elections......who cares

    Yawnnnnnnnn….along the same lines of asking the republican candidates about fantasy football……..who cares.

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