In the race for the Republican nomination for Newton County Tax Commissioner are two women with considerable financial experience: incumbent Barbara Dingler and Doris Strickland, executive director of the Covington/Newton County United Way.
Dingler is seeking her third term as tax commissioner. She was appointed to the position in 1999 after working in the Tax Commissioner's Office since 1985. She was first elected to the position in 2001.
"I have the experience in the office," said Dingler of her candidacy. "I am dedicated to the job."
Strickland said her years of managing $500,000 plus budgets with United Way have prepared her for the role of managing the Tax Commissioner's Office.
"I think that I have the best qualifications," Strickland said pointing to her 24 years experience with the United Way, where she has at times managed a staff of 25 people.
If re-elected Dingler said county residents will benefit from her 23 years of experience working in the office. She said she would also continue to petition the Newton County Board of Elections to open a satellite tax office in the western end of the county.
"I know we are not perfect and errors are made but we are only human," Dingler said in an e-mail, acknowledging some of the criticism that has come her office's way in recent years.
Both candidates are running on promises to treat all taxpayers that come to the office in a fair and equitable manner.
Strickland promised to be a "full-time tax commissioner" if elected.
"There will not be anytime that anybody goes in that tax office where someone cannot get in touch with me," Strickland said. "If I am anywhere, they will know where to find me."
Strickland also promised that all Tax Office employees would be fully trained in the most current tax code laws.
"There will not be anyone that stays there for years and years without going to school, regardless of how long they've been in there," Strickland said.
Dingler said that she was proud of each of her 15 staff members and feels that they are all well-trained and efficient at their jobs."
"They make sure every citizen is greeted and treated with respect," Dingler said. "I know when I am out of the office; I have a capable staff that does an excellent service to the citizens."
According to Dingler, collections for the 2007 tax year are at 95.39 percent.
"We are working diligently to collect the remaining outstanding taxes," Dingler said, adding that customers can now view and pay their property taxes at www.newtoncountytax.com.
A native of Newton County, Dingler and her husband, Keith have two children. She was promoted to property tax supervisor in 1987 and deputy tax commissioner in 1998.
If elected tax commissioner, Strickland has said she would step down as executive director of United Way. She is supported in her candidacy by former Newton County Tax Commissioner Carol Mitchell.
"I will strive to make the tax office an office of excellence which it needs to be," Strickland said. "When I'm elected, taxpayers will not have to worry about where their money's being spent because they can come in any time and question me."
Strickland has lived in Newton County for the past 39 years. She earned her Associate's Degree in Business Administration from the Macy Business School. Prior to working for the United Way, she worked for the Newton County Probation and Parole Office and the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce as an administrative assistant.
She has two daughters and five grandchildren. A member of Covington Kiwanis, Strickland is also a member of the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce. She attends church at Eastridge Community Church.