Newcomer aims to unseat incumbent's 6th term
May 7, 2012 at 12:07 a.m.
A Victoria County clerk hopes to boost the county tax assessor-collector office's online presence.
Jane Bernal, 53, of Victoria, is running against five-time incumbent Rena Scherer for the Democratic Party nomination for tax assessor-collector in the May 29 primary election.
"I want to bring it back to the customers, back to the taxpayers," Bernal said.
According to the Texas Association of Counties, the main tax duty is calculating and collecting taxes on each property in the county. However, the tax assessor-collector does not appraise property. That is done by the Appraisal District, which is not a part of county government.
The assessor-collector also handles vehicle registration and licensing.
Bernal said if elected, she would bring "fresh ideas to the office."
"Let's make it more pleasing for us and for the customer," she said.
Bernal worked at Victoria and Bloomington school districts for 26 years, before joining the Precinct 1 justice of the peace office as the assistant chief clerk.
She said her work experience strengthened her financial accountability and her ability to prioritize customer service.
Bernal said she wants to focus on online opportunities that make the job easier for employees and taxpayers.
"I want to bring in more online options and make it more accessible," she said. "What are some ways to not spend a couple of hours waiting to do your business?"
Residents can already register vehicles online and pay property tax online.
She said she wants to see a cell phone application that county residents can use to pay their taxes through their smart phones.
She said she would also like to see a kiosk at high-traffic areas around the county, including grocery stores.
"If we consider it a big office, we need to look at big ideas," she said.
She said she is capable of doing the job and is eager to learn.
"If elected, I want to ensure our tax dollars are safely and securely handled," she said.