After putting in 29 years in the office she now leads, Denton County Tax Assessor/Collector Michelle French said things are off to a good start after her first 10 days.
French was sworn in on New Year’s Day, replacing Steve Mossman, who did not seek re-election after 10 years in office. French said she was not as overwhelmed by the job because she had worked under Mossman and with many of the longtime staff members.
That knowledge will also help her quickly implement some of her goals for the office.
“The difference between myself coming in and understanding the job and someone coming in new is [that] because of my experience, I am familiar with what needs to be done, familiar with the people we need to make those things happen, and the staff is familiar with me,” French said. “We already have a great rapport and great communication. We already have the blueprint of what needs to be done, going forward.”
French said the job can still be overwhelming.
“Not that you don’t know what you have to do; there is just a lot to do,” she said.
One of the first tasks the first day was to deputize all the staff under her, French said.
During her campaign, French said she wanted to hold public information meetings for taxpayers to better learn the process and what is required of them and when. French also said she would meet with each of the entities for which her office collects taxes.
French anticipates those meetings beginning the end of February.
“I’ll want to get that going as quick as possible,” she said.
Interaction with the taxpayers is really important, she said, “and I enjoy being able to visit with our constituents and taxpayers, give them any info they might need.”
She has already released the annual notices to remind people that property taxes are due Jan. 31.
French said social media will be a useful tool for her office.
“We already have a Facebook and Twitter. If you go to the website, we already have that there and we will be updating that on a regular basis,” she said.
Additionally, French said she plans to produce some how-to videos for staff training as well as a series of how-to videos for the public.
“Social media is a great way to be able to communicate to our public and to our constituents,” she said. “It’s a little-used tool by many governments. A lot of them are beginning to get on that bandwagon because they see the value of it.”
French noted her excitement at the possibilities and ideas she sees coming out of her office.
“We [want to] meet the needs of the taxpayer to the greatest ability we possibly can,” she said. “I am really looking forward to the future and doing whatever we can to assist our constituents.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .