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Salt Lake County Treasurer

The Treasurer bills and collects all real property taxes, administers statutory tax relief programs, refunds tax overpayments and distributes all taxes collected to local tax entities.In addition to billing, collecting, protecting, distributing and investing $1 Billion in tax revenue, the Treasurer's office does the following: Manages daily account balances and generates future cash flow analyses Is the funding agent for Mayor/Council County administrative operations including payroll and vendor payments Invests all Mayor/Council liquid tax revenue and bond proceeds Distributes portfolio investment proceeds to all Countywide entities Refunds taxpayers from a successful tax appeal

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    K. Wayne Cushing

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    Michael McDonald

What professional certifications, licenses and work experiences do you have that would qualify you for the position of County Treasurer?

What are the most significant challenges facing the office of County Treasurer?

What are the most important services the County Treasurer provides to the public?

Graduated with as Masters Degree in Accounting from the University of Utah in 1979. Certified Public Accountant ( CPA) since 1980.(Passed exam at first sitting). Auditor for CPA firm including audits of large governmental entities such as Salt Lake City and Bountiful City. Chief Financial Officer in private sector for over 15 years. Ten years serving as Salt Lake County Treasurer (elected for first term in 2010). Currently serving on the Utah State Money Management Council upon the request of Utah State Treasurer David Damschen and approval by Governor Herbert and Utah State Senate. Also appointed by the Governor to serve on the Private Activity Bond Authority Board. In summary I have over 40 years of related and specific financial experience.
Currently Covid-19 has required our office to be forward thinking in planning for two important deadlines. Tax relief applications are due September 1, 2020. The main recipients of the tax relief are the elderly which are high risk for the pandemic. We are currently allowing application meetings with our staff by appointment only and are carefully watching our numbers and sending out reminder notices to get as many in as early as possible. We will have a similar issue for our general property tax collection period which is due November 30,2020. We send out Salt Lake County property tax notices out earlier than any other county so that we can deal with returns and get issues resolved as early as possible. We have plans on reminding property owners of different ways to pay their tax without coming into our office and emphasize to those that need to come in to our office to make an effort to do so prior to last weeks of November.
The County Treasurer is an independent elected office to represent and protect the interests of the citizens of the county. The Treasurer is responsible for collecting over $1.5 billion in property tax revenue and subsequently distributing those funds to over 75 government entities in the county. The Treasurer can reduce the future tax billings by being successful in its collection rates. For example our success in our collection rates have reduced taxes by over $160 million in total. Our office is responsible for administrating all tax relief programs and we have been aggressive in our notification process to try and find all those who qualify for such relief. Our office invests county monies and monies awaiting distribution to the other government entities. My appointment to the Money Management Council was based on our success in investments during rising and falling interest rates. I am also a member of the Debt Review and Revenue Committees of the County.
I graduated Valedictorian from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. I worked as an auditor for Marriott hotels and wrote their first in-house auditing software. I have written a full suite of accounting software including General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Point of Sales systems. I was team lead developing a personal tax software system. I hold twenty-three shared patents in multiple areas including methods for securing personal data, anonymity, online collaboration, data protection, etc. I was an Executive Vice President for TMP Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company. I have fifteen years experience as Chief Technology Officer coordinating with security teams in the investment and international banking sector to ensure security and anonymity of personal data.
The treasurer’s office is currently using outdated computer systems. Computer security and integration with modern systems is the biggest challenge facing the treasurer’s office. The treasurer's office has spent the last decade and somewhere between $6 million and $10 million dollars attempting to update their computer accounting systems. That money has been spent and the County has nothing to show for it. The treasurer’s office intends to start over from scratch and will attempt to write the software themselves. This is their third attempt. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund another experiment in upgrading systems without an experienced software architect leading the effort. The treasurer's office needs to be more innovative. Not everyone has a computer or smartphone, especially those we should be targeting for tax relief. We must use every communication method possible to reach out, inform, and assist the elderly, veterans, and other qualifying taxpayers about tax relief.
The county treasurer is responsible for collecting, protecting, investing, and distributing property tax revenue. The most important service the treasurer performs is protecting individual citizens’ personal information and protecting the actual monies collected. In a time when unauthorized access to computer systems has become more and more common, this can not be understated. During a pandemic and with taxpayers’ homes on the line, quick and clear communication to those who qualify for tax relief is critical. All taxpayers deserve better customer service when conducting business with the treasurer’s office. Reduced wait time for those calling for information, providing more efficient and secure methods for making payments, and providing more accessible methods for those wishing to pay in person are priorities.