Citizen Academy of Harrisonburg-Finance

This day was a day full of finance for me, so I was pretty worn out by this evening. But, I will do my best to give an overview. And next time I will take better notes!

 

June Hosaflook

 

First we met the Commissioner of the Revenue, June Hosaflook. She is very nice and seems to enjoy her job since she can directly work with the citizens of this city. Her office assess taxes, issues business licenses, administers taxes, and helps citizens file state tax returns. Though, we have one of the lowest taxes in the state, some people still complain.

After learning what our taxes do for us, it’s really hard to argue with. It wasn’t the most exciting class, I’m sure, but we did learn a lot. One thing that still bothers me a bit, is the City Sticker. I had a boss at one time who told me that it was basically a double tax. That got me thinking, why do we have them? Apparently, they are to show that we paid our taxes since you are unable to purchase a sticker until you are paid up! Also, I was told that if we got rid of the sticker (which I don’t believe there is talk of it yet) then they would just put that $30 or so on our taxes to be paid…we just wouldn’t have the sticker.

 


Lisa Neunlist

 

Next, we met Lisa Neunlist, Real Estate Director. Her office heads up the reassessment of all real property in the City. They do this every year, so there’s really no down-time. She is super nice and her office is open to answer any questions you may have about assessment value and such. They assess at 100% of fair market value. They stay on top of the housing market so they know the fair value of all the real property.

 

Jeff Shafer

 

Moving on, then we learned about the Treasurer’s Office who handles pretty much all the money coming into the City. The Treasurer, Jeff Shafer, has a lot going on all the time. The office collects your water bill, tax bill, parking fines, car decals, dog licenses, and much more. Sometimes they even act as go-between with the State for state taxes. Cool thing is, every time I have been in there (usually during the busy times) everyone is still really nice.

Finally, we met Lester Seal and Larry Propst from the Finance Department. They make sure that everything is going smoothly. One of their jobs is to handle the budget. Would you want to handle the budget of the City? Me either! Apparently, they keep things moving smooth enough that the City’s credit score is spectacular. Way to go! This means that when we need money very soon for building schools or something else important, that people are cool with letting us borrow money. And of course, that is incredibly important.

That’s the overview. Sometimes it was hard to get through because, even though people are not supposed to use this time for personal grievances, they kind of do. I brought up the city sticker issue because I was curious and they weren’t answering my question correctly, so I kept rewording it until I got what I was looking for. I was hoping that didn’t come across mean, I had no intention of that. Just trying to get an answer. But opening your mouth and saying something is dumb gets us nowhere. You may not understand something (my case), but you shouldn’t just outright say, you charge *this* and that’s stupid. Can you tell I was annoyed by that?

Anyway, we get out of the classroom next week! You’ll have to wait and see where we go!

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One thought on “Citizen Academy of Harrisonburg-Finance

  1. Pingback: Why participate in Citizen Academy? | Life's Craziness

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