Meeting the Alpine County tax collector

The old saying that the only certainty is death and taxes may be true. Nevertheless tax collection is an important function in the running of a county such as Alpine.

And the person responsible for that is Treasurer and Tax Collector Carol McElroy. Important as tax collecting is, she is also responsible for investing the money until the board of supervisors authorizes its use for county expenses, and she is required to post the daily cash balance. McElroy is also county recorder and must keep record of property deeds and other documents of land ownership. She is also the registrar and issues birth and death certificates.

In addition to collecting property taxes she also collects the taxes on unsecured property such as a boat or mobile home as well as the transient occupancy tax, an important source of funds from the county's ski resorts. McElroy said the most difficult part of her work is constantly changing hats-talk about multi-tasking.

As residents know taxes are due in December and April, and she noted that the rate of delinquency in the county is very low. If there is failure to pay she places a lien on one's secured property, such as land and house. That makes it nearly impossible to obtain a loan or sell the property.

For other property, such as a boat or mobile home, the lien is placed on the owner.

Undoubtedly, people are not joyous about paying taxes but most take it in stride. That's true of 99 percent of taxlpayers according to McElroy, and when I asked if anyone ever raised a fuss and held her responsible for a tax burden, she thought for a while and replied that there was only one incident when an irate taxpayer blamed her.

"You're taking the food out of my child's mouth!" She shouted.

McElroy tried to calm her and realized that a change in the auditor's assessment of the person's property had raised her taxes, and directed her to that office.

McElroy reflected on her work and commented, "It's hard but rewarding." She and her husband came to Alpine in 1989 from Milpitas, Calif. and she had been in accounting in Silicon Valley.

She and her husband live in Mesa Vista and husband David is a machinist at General Electric, formerly Bently Nevada, in Minden, since 1990. David has a part-time business, "Helping Hands," and has been doing a great deal of hauling. He's looking forward to working on fuels reduction.

Their son Marcus attended Diamond Valley Elementary School and Douglas High, and majored in Business Administration at the University of Nevada.

He works at Tyco Electronics in Reno as a sales analyst and does a great deal of traveling, having recently returned from China.

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