In county finance, responsibility for the financial decision making is divided between the auditor and the treasurer. The auditor is the chief accountant, responsible for executing transactions and maintaining financial and budgetary records. Other duties include real estate appraisal, calculation and preparation of the tax duplicate, and assessing taxes. The treasurer is the cash manager, functioning in a manner similar to a banker. This separation of power provides a system of checks and balances and streamlines operations. Good communication is essential between the two offices in order to properly process the workload.
As cash manager, the treasurer collects all cash received by the county. These receipts can be collected directly or indirectly received through the auditor. The treasurer's office makes all deposits. All county expenditures are made by warrant of the county auditor to the treasurer. The treasurer redeems warrants when presented by the bank. All transactions processed are posted by fund to the treasurer's records. Bank activity of the treasury is balanced with the depository on a daily basis. The treasurer provides evidence of this reconciliation to the auditor on a daily basis to ascertain that both offices' records are in agreement.
Chief Investment Officer
The treasurer is the chief investment officer of the county. Through communication with the auditor, the treasurer should match investment timing with cash flow needs. The goal of investing public money is to protect the public money while trying to maximize returns using eligible investments purchased from eligible depositories in compliance with the law.
A primary duty of the county treasurer is the role of tax collector. A tax bill is prepared based on information contained on the duplicate. The collection of real estate and manufactured homes (trailer) tax typically takes place in February and July. Settlement occurs in February and August. The treasurer keeps a detailed record of the collection status of each real estate parcel.
Taxpayers not paying their tax bills within the allowable time incur interest and penalties. Taxpayers still owing tax after the date of settlement have their names placed on the delinquent tax list. The list, certified by the treasurer to the auditor, is published in newspapers having general circulation in the county. Payment of delinquent tax is coordinated through the treasurer's office. There are various payment plans available to taxpayers having financial difficulty. One option is a pre-payment plan. This budget plan is especially useful for taxpayers on a fixed income. In cases where taxes owed are not collected through conventional means, the treasurer works with the county prosecutor in foreclosures and other collection proceedings.
Miscellaneous duties performed by the treasurer include maintaining the bonds of several county officials and sitting on various boards. These boards are the County Budget Commission, the County Board of Revision, the Investment Advisory Board, the Microfilming Board and the automatic data processing board.