Skinner, Armstrong vie for Property Tax Commissioner

Both Shelby County Commissioner Don Armstrong and Shelby County Tax Collector Annette Skinner hope voters choose them as the

county’s first property tax commissioner.

The two will face-off in next Tuesday’s runoff race for the newly created positon which combines the jobs of county tax assessor and tax collector.

The position was created by a vote of county residents last November.

In the primary election held June 4, Skinner collected 46 percent of the more than 16,000 votes cast. Armstrong finished second with 26 percent of the vote.

Another county commissioner Ted Crockett placed third with 21 percent. Columbiana businessman Johnny Lowe, who died shortly after the election received 8 percent of the vote.

In the race, Skinner said she has sought to show voters her experience and qualifications.

Skinner, a Shelby resident, has been tax collector of Shelby County for the past 20 years. She notes that she has had perfect annual audits by the Examiners of Public Accountants during her tenure.

The audits, she said, show every cent went to the state, the county, the schools and the municpalities.

Skinner also points to the growth of tax collections. In 1982, Shelby County collected $12 million while $82 million was collected in 2001.

Prior to serving as Tax Collector, Skinner worked for 10 years in the title insurance business. In this position she issued title policies and guaranteed title to real estate purchased.

&uot;I hope voters will support me because of experience &045; my insurance title business experience &045; my 20 years working with land deeds, land values, and collection of real estate taxes &045; and my correct dispersal of funds to the state, county, schools and cities,&uot; Skinner said.

Armstrong, a Wilsonville resident and University of Montevallo graduate, touts his business background as a reason voters should support him.

He has worked for many years for U.S. Agrichemicals as area sales manager and currently serves as accounts manager for the company which was recently purchased by Cherokee Nitrogen Company.

Armstrong has spent the last 12 years as a county commissioner.

During that time, serving as chairman of the commission’s Finance Committee, he said he has helped lead the county from dire financial straits amounting to $42 million in debt to a time of financial freedom.

If elected, Armstrong said he hopes to implement new technology to the property tax office.

Armstong notes he spearheaded the establishment of the county’s computer/information system, recognized by the state of Alabama as one of the most progressive in the state.

He picked up the endorsement of current Tax Assessor Bobbie Reynolds last week.

&uot;I think the new position requires computer and information technology skills, financial management skills, human resource skills and progressive and inovative thinking. I believe with my background and experience that I bring these qualifications to the job.

&uot;And if the people of Shelby County desire quality leadership in government and want to take part in stepping forward to address Shelby County’s future, then we ask them to vote for Don Armstrong to be the Property Tax Commissioner of Shelby County,&uot; Armstrong said