Photo by Wendy Howell.
Recently elected County Treasurer Sarah Benatar and County Assessor Armando Ruiz made the rounds in Williams last month, including a visit with the Williams Rotary Club.
During the visit, Benatar and Ruiz shared information about what they do in their positions and how they desire to reach out to Coconino County residents personally.
“Armando and I implemented this a few years ago, “Benatar said. “We wanted a community outreach and education program.”
Benatar said she and Ruiz are going to Page, Forest Lakes, Williams, Tuba City, Parks and other locations to introduce themselves and try to help people understand what they do and how they can help.
Benatar previously worked with the United Way of Northern Arizona. She oversaw programs and initiatives, and finance and operations at the center. Prior to that she worked for DNA People’s Legal Services and the Eugene 4J School District.
She has been working in the treasurer’s office since 2014, but the 2016 race was her first election.
Benatar said most people know the treasurer’s office because that is where their property tax bill comes from. She said the office handles property taxes for all the taxing districts, including schools, city, fire districts and other county entities.
“We distribute the monies to those districts,” she said. “We are also the bank for the county and those districts. We receive all the revenue sources whether its from the state, grants, sales tax, etc. We also oversee all the investments for them as well.”
Ruiz has worked for 13 years in the County Assessor’s office. For the past five years he was the Chief Deputy Assessor for Christine Mazon, who retired in 2015.
Ruiz said the assessor’s office is responsible for identifying and valuing all the taxable property in the county. He said by trade his staff are appraisers who set a valuation for property that is used to calculate taxes.
“We also administer individual exemption programs,” he said.
The assessor’s office has several programs to assist low income, disabled, widowed or elderly residents.
Ruiz said the office maintains all the ownerships for the properties in the county. He said they work directly with the treasurer’s office to help determine valuations, taxes and the collection process.
“No one likes taxes,” Benatar said. “But we want people to know who we are and we are here for them. We want to provide them information and help them understand the process. We also want them to know about the different programs that are available to them to assist them through it all.”