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Tax assessor/collector stays true to word

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

When he first ran for the position of tax assessor/collector, Steve Mossman promised he would stay in office for 10 years.

This past election cycle marked the end of the decade-long promise and Mossman is staying true to his word, choosing to retire and let someone else take over.

“God has been very good to us, given me opportunities I never expected to have,” Mossman said. “At this point, I am 70 years old. It’s time for someone else.”

That someone else is Michelle French, who worked for Mossman for a number of years and was elected to replace him this past November.

Mossman spent 25 years in pastoral ministries before becoming the chief clerk of the Justice of the Peace court in Roanoke.  In 2002, he ran for the position Mary Horn vacated to run for county judge.

“The sequence of events that happened was amazing. I always said this is the accidental profession. Nobody plans to be a tax collector,” he said. “Things just worked out, things I could not explain happening that made it possible for me to run, and it was a perfect fit for me emotionally, psychologically.”

Over the course of his decade in the office, Mossman said it has seen a tremendous change related to the county’s rampant population growth.

“We have a few more staff members and the office is better organized now to handle the new size and new demands,” Mossman said.

Mossman noted new software purchased for his department that placed certain tax information online to cut down on written notices and phone calls made to county entities which resulted in a cleaner look for tax reports and smoother service for taxpaying residents of the county.

The tax software was tied to what Mossman described as one of the hardest parts of his job, having to go before the commissioners’ court with a $649,250 request outside of the regular budget cycle.

“The court was very accommodating and I appreciate their leadership and willingness to cooperate,” Mossman said.

On the other side of that, Mossman said the easy part of the job came with the staff he inherited.

“When I was a newbie and knew nothing, they did a fantastic job of keeping me out of trouble and keeping things working smoothly,” he said. “It was not a hard job to me.”

Mossman said he harbored no regret at anything he wished he could have done during his tenure.

“I’m satisfied with what I was allowed to do. There are things we might have done differently, but everything to me was effective and being able to serve the public without undue stress — that was my purpose.”

Judge Horn wished Mossman a happy retirement and expressed her gratitude for him running for office when he did and for his service this past decade.

“He has done a good job for the county,” she said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is