A response from former county auditor

As result of an agreement between the plaintiffs (Ward, Smith, and Templin) and the defendant, Fayette County Republican Central Committee, the selection of the County Auditor’s position on Nov. 9, will now be conducted in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22, in an open and public manner.

The purpose of the filing was to correct the procedure used by the committee, non-compliance with open meeting laws by the committee, and transparency of the process by the committee.

Unfortunately, in his editorial posted Nov. 3, Mr. Coole has selectively chosen some accomplishments in his six months in office to denigrate the prior administration, and by inference, place in doubt, the suitability of Brenda Mossbarger as a candidate for the Office of Auditor.

In my opinion, it has always been necessary to be cautious in preparing the relevant tax duplicate from transfers, parcel splits, and valuation changes. The review, entry, and updating of the transfers would have continued normally during 2017, for the required preparation of the upcoming tax bills.

I would like to point out, the second half real estate tax collection in calendar 2016, was completed with the new real estate software. Additionally, the calculation of the real estate taxes to be collected during in 2017, and the first half tax collection this year (due Feb. 17, 2017), was completed on the new real estate system, and distributed to all political subdivisions in the county, prior to my retirement in March.

The Auditor’s Office has always maintained a working and courteous relationship with townships, villages, school districts, and the City of Washington Court House to resolve any problems with special assessments, T.I.F. funds, zoning issues, state funding issues, and building permits. I feel it was unfortunate in the editorial to “call out” the City of Washington when it is most important for the Auditor’s Office to work with all political subdivisions in the county.

Michael D. Smith