Revenue candidates debate issues for Lions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

The runoff race for Covington County revenue commissioner will come to an end with the July 15 election, but candidates Meredith Peters and George “Chuck” Patterson are still hard at work on the campaign trail.

Both candidates spoke to the Andalusia Lions Club Wednesday, mapping out once more why each one is the right choice for the office.

Patterson leaned heavily on his “30 years in accounting and management,” adding people skills are needed as much as the tools needed to run the office.

“I’m running because I want to be a servant of the public,” Patterson said. “I have a lot of experience as an accountant, but I’ve also been a manager. I know how to react to customers. I want to make sure everybody has great customer service; it’s important.”

Peters, currently a public defender for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, said she believes her experience as a lawyer would aid her as revenue commissioner.

“My legal experience is a plus because it will help me in interpreting rules and things like that,” Peters said. “I would also treat each property owner as my client in that regard.”

Both Peters and Patterson again touched on ways each would become familiar with inner workings of an office that has been run by current Revenue Commissioner Janice Hart for many years.

“You can’t just go in there and change things initially,” Patterson said. “First you have to get into the office and evaluate things.”

Peters said the opportunity to observe Hart and her employees prior to taking office in October 2015 would go a long way toward bridging that gap.

“I’d like to come into the office prior to October to become more familiar and get to know the employees,” she said. “They have a wealth of knowledge that would be invaluable to any revenue commissioner.”

Peters also again mentioned the possible implementation of new elements, such as online payment options and a more user-friendly web site, as goals she would like to attain as revenue commissioner.

“I want to build on the infrastructure already in place,” she said.

Both candidates also stressed the importance of voter turnout for the runoff election, after the two were separated by only 23 votes in the initial primary election in June. Patterson and Peters separated themselves from three other candidates also vying for the spot in the primary.