There’s a large race for Pettis County Assessor and it will be decided in the Aug. 2 primary election, as all five candidates are Republican.
Christopher C. Woolery, of Sedalia, Karen Hill, of Smithton, Mark A. Thomas, of Sedalia, Angie Luebbering, of Sedalia, and Susan Young Yelton, of Sedalia, have all filed for the position of assessor.
Woolery has worked in the assessor’s office for five years and now serves as Deputy Assessor. He announced his candidacy shortly after Assessor Karissa Logan announced she would not be seeking re-election. Woolery has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting and a master’s degree in accounting. He said he has operated in both personal property and real estate and within the assessor’s office has worked on TIF districts and Enhanced Enterprise Zones.
“I have been a major component in running the office for the past four years and with our current assessor not running I felt it was the best thing I could do for myself and for Pettis County,” Woolery said of his decision to run. “I know where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re intending to go so I can carry that forward.”
Woolery said there aren’t many things that need immediately addressed, but offered a few areas of improvement.
“More accessibility. We’ve been working to get all of our files in a digital format and when that happens there are a lot more options in accessing that information, whether it be on an online server …” he said. “There’s not a whole lot that needs to be addressed other than just trying to reach out more so that people know what’s going on. A lot of people when they come in don’t necessarily know what forms they might need to bring in … That’s another one of our top priorities is providing good customer service.”
He said he sees the assessor’s main responsibilities as being the administrator of the office, being a representative when working with other counties, handling tough situations, and balancing and maintaining the office’s budget. When it comes to the budget, he offered his take on keeping it balanced.
“The main thing with the budget is we do have a lot of reimbursement from the state from the assessment fund and there are collection funds that we get a lot of reimbursement. As far as what we take from (county) general revenue, we’ve cut that down significantly in the past four years opposed to what it was prior,” he explained. “There’s not a whole lot that can be done other than reckless spending and that’s not currently being done and it won’t be done in the future. A lot of what eats up our budget is the employee wages and whatnot. We can’t cut that, otherwise we’ll never be able to reach the entire county. Beyond that is the cost of our software and if we don’t have good, strong software, it would take more manpower.”
Some goals for office for Woolery include getting old deeds entered into the computer system to help eliminate the hassle of digging through paper files, as well as coming up with an improved filing system.
Woolery said he doesn’t foresee many challenges in taking over the assessor’s office because of experience in his current position, other than possible employee turnover in the next couple years due to a few people nearing retirement.
“I’ve got the highest level of experience among the candidates,” Woolery said of why citizens should vote for him. “I’ve actually been in the office for the last five years as a main component. I have the experience and knowledge to take the position on day one. I have the respect of the office, I’m a leader that I know they will follow. We will all continue the good work that Karissa has already started. I know that good work because I’ve been doing it.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.