After 25 years, tax administrator calls it a day

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 6, 2012

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — During his 40-year career as a tax professional, Robert G. “Jerry” Rowland says he’s worked on 37 property tax revaluations with more than 2 million appraisals.
Even though the Rowan County Tax Administrator is retiring in a few months, he still may add to that long track record.
Rowland said he might do some consulting work for Rowan and other counties — “or I might just go fishing.”
“I’ve had a paying job for 57 or 58 years, and you know, I get a little tired,” he said with a chuckle.
Rowland will retire on June 30, when his current term ends, after nearly 25 years with the county. He said he originally had planned on retiring at the end of 2011, but he wanted to finish helping with appeals to the N.C. Property Tax Commission.
“I’ll tell you, I have got a loyal, hardworking, dedicated staff,” Rowland said. “We are a large county, and it’s not a trivial assignment to run the county like this and do all the things that need to be done. We have worked extremely hard.”
He said he’s worked on seven property tax revaluations with Rowan County. Rowland did the rest as a private appraiser, including his 15 or 16 years of time at the appraisal company he sold in 1988.
County Manager Gary Page said Rowland has helped keep the tax department running smoothly since then, even when there were bumps in the road.
“He did his job, and he did it well,” Page said. “He’s well respected in his field. We’re going to miss him… and we wish him luck. I’m sure he’ll find other things to do to stay busy.”
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The tax administrator is one of three employees appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, along with the county manager and board clerk.
Commissioners plan to discuss Rowland’s retirement and the hiring process for his replacement during their meeting at 3 p.m. today.
The position was created in 2009 to merge the duties of the county tax collector and tax assessor. Before then, Rowland had worked as Rowan County’s tax assessor.
“On the collections side… I just coordinate what they do and turn them loose,” Rowland said.
Page said commissioners could decide to keep the administrator position or split it back into two. The board can appoint his replacement for either a two-year term or a four-year term, both of which are renewable.
Rowland said he hopes the next tax administrator is as well-qualified and dedicated as the rest of the leadership staff. In particular, he praised real and personal property manager Barbara McGuire in the assessor’s office.
“Barbara has been with me for over 25 years,” he said. “She knows the ins and outs. She needs to be here, because she knows more about our appraisal system, our computer system and our software than anybody else does.”
According to the job description on file with the county human resources department, minimum experience includes five years in real and personal property appraisal, real estate, collection of taxes and revenue or a related field, as well as at least two years of supervisory experience.
The position also calls for a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration, economics or a related field. The job description does allow for “an equivalent combination of education and experience.”
“Whoever we appoint, it’s an important function that does have a big impact on the budget,” Page said, “so we need to have as good and dedicated a person as we can get.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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