Brief History of the office of Treasurer
In 1869 the Constitution of Virginia established the office of Treasurer in each of the counties, cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The Treasurer is an elected official directly responsible to the citizens of the locality for the receipt and collection of every form of revenue that comes to the locality. The treasurer is also responsible for the safekeeping of revenue. Treasurers manage the investment of local funds. The Treasurer is also responsible for the collection of State funds under the Code of Virginia. First and foremost the Treasurer is a servant of the citizens, charged with the duty to provide high-quality and efficient services to the citizens of the locality. Due to local charters other duties of a Treasurer may vary from locality to locality; however, all duties stated in the Code of Virginia are the expressed responsibility of all Treasurers.
Salem Treasurer's Office
The City of Salem treasurer's office consists of five full-time employees including the Treasurer. During the spring of the year we also have four part-time employees who work six weeks during the period when we collect real estate and personal property taxes and issue auto decals. As stated in the Code of Virginia the Treasurer is responsible for the safeguarding of all city funds which includes the investment of city revenue and the collection of revenue which includes real estate, personal property, bank stock, public utility, meals and lodging taxes as well as business licenses, all miscellaneous charges, fees, permits and issuing auto decals and dog licenses.
The Treasurer's Office currently has a fully computerized collection system that allows employees to more quickly accommodate the taxpayer. This was a very important focus point when the system was being developed. The Treasurer's Office has established an " Automated Bank Draft" system allowing citizens to pay their real estate tax by having their bank account debited monthly rather than paying a large tax bill at one time. We now honor credit cards through a company known as Official Payments Inc. These programs have been very successful and we have received many positive comments from taxpayers using the programs.
As mentioned earlier the Treasurer's Office is also responsible for the collection of all state taxes due in the City of Salem. These state funds are maintained in a bank account and on a daily basis are transfered to the Commonwealth of Virginia account along with the distribution of these funds.
This office is audited each year by both an outside auditing firm for the City and by the Auditor of Public Accounts for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Treasurer's Office continues to maintain an average collection rate of better than 98 percent on delinquent taxes.