‘Our Board of Equalization appeals have been reduced. Our staff has been upgraded and trained. We are in the middle of two major software conversions.’
After serving on the city’s school board, council, and as mayor, Douglas Waldron seeks to serve a second term as the Manassas Commissioner of the Revenue.
This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017.
Waldron sent us this email below:
My parents, Bill and Dorothy, moved to Manassas in 1962. At that time, there were cows across the street and no stoplights in the town. They raised five children and, after my college years, I was the only sibling to return and stay in Manassas. My wife, Sherry, and I raised three sons. We are very grateful for the education they received as they each attended City public schools K through 12 and are successful adults.
Committed to Manassas, I began public service. In the 1990’s, I served on the School Board and was twice elected to the City Council. I was Mayor of Manassas from 2004 to 2008. Then, in 2013, I received 7,088 votes and was elected to serve as your Commissioner of the Revenue. I now seek re-election and ask for your vote and support.
The modern Commissioner of the Revenue position was created in 1869 when the Virginia Constitution was rewritten following the Civil War. The job is one of five authorized by the Constitution. The others are Clerk of the Court, Commonwealths Attorney, Sheriff and Treasurer. The office is not strictly partisan and many of my colleagues in Virginia run, in fact, as Independent candidates.
Our role is to help keep the City’s fiscal house in order. Our office (11 of us) fairly and equitably identifies and assesses those sources of revenue to which the City is entitled according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Manassas. Billing and collecting the tax dollars is the job of the Treasurer, not ours. Deciding how those funds are raised and spent is the task of the City Council.
Because I am elected and not hired by the City Manager, our Office independently represents, and answers to, the citizens of Manassas. Our guiding keywords are service, fairness, equity, discovery and compliance. In the four years I been CoR, we continue to make improvements in each of these areas.
There are many technical aspects to the job and experience with City affairs is quite necessary. I am very familiar with budgets, personnel, State and local laws, workflow, property types, and traditions. Some have wondered how it is that just anyone off the street could become Commissioner of the Revenue.
The job is quite consequential. When a major taxpayer challenged me very soon after taking office about how the City had been calculating depreciation, I took the time to research the issue and modified the method to the satisfaction of the taxpayer and the City. Mistakes due to the inexperience of an unsuitable officeholder could lead to some serious and adverse consequences. It is important to have the right person in the job.
Since my election in 2013, I earned the Master Commissioner of the Revenue designation from the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia. I was elected by my Northern Virginia peers to serve two terms as District chairman of the Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia and I am a member of the Executive Committee, Legislative Committee and Career Development Committee.
Importantly, I am a Virginia certified residential Real Estate Appraiser and practiced as an appraiser since 1984. That is how I earned my living through the years. Maybe it could be said that as a result of my real estate experience, we are able to hire the best assessors possible. I am proud to say that the most recent figures from the Virginia Dept. of Taxation report that our Real Estate Assessment Division has the best combined assessment to sales ratio (96.57%) and coefficient of dispersion (3.00%) numbers in the Northern Virginia region. Those are very good numbers. The real estate assessment figure directly impacts the Local Composite Index (LCI) which results in the amount of State dollars sent to Manassas for our school system. Our Department budget costs have gone down as we found ways to save money and is, in fact, less than when I took office by over $78,000. Our Board of Equalization appeals have been reduced. Our staff has been upgraded and trained. We are in the middle of two major software conversions.
I am campaigning again for the job because I want to continue to make improvements as we serve our community. Please be sure to vote for me on November 7. I hope to remain Commissioner of the Revenue and help move us along.
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