Filling the role formerly occupied by JR Moore Jr., Tammy McRae took office Oct. 1 as the new tax assessor-collector for Montgomery County.
Last fall, Moore announced he was stepping down from the position to enter retirement after 28 years in office. The Commissioners Court appointed McRae to fulfill the remainder of Moore's four-year term. McRae said she plans to run for the position in the 2016 election.
McRae previously served as the chief deputy for Moore for nearly six years and served as the tax assessor in Sabine County for about 15 years. Since taking on her new role, McRae has focused her energy on improving efficiency within the department, making updates to technology infrastructure and helping the county continue to grow economically.
What are some of your day-to-day job duties?
We collect property taxes [within] 73 taxing jurisdictions. We collect for all the school districts in the county, the cities, special districts, public improvement districts, emergency service districts, the college district and the hospitals. We also register and title every motor vehicle for all residents in Montgomery County. Those are the primary duties. We also collect the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission fees for the county, so for anyone [who] sells beer, liquor or wine, we collect those licensing fees as well.
What's something about your job that people might not know?
Something that this office does that other tax assessors may not do is economic development. We handle all of the tax abatements. We monitor compliance with the criteria, policies and procedures adopted by the [Montgomery] County Commissioners Court. That's something [JR] Moore [Jr.]'s office started several years ago, and he's always been really interested in the economic development [of] the county. The county tax assessor-collector's office is one of the first places a new resident will come to for vehicle registration or [to pay] their taxes, and we have the opportunity to see more people.
What is going to be the biggest challenge for the department this year?
[A field representative] was sharing with me some of the new items that would be rolling out of the legislative session in regard to the changes [with] the Department of Motor Vehicles. One of those [items] is the implementation of a new Web-based registration titling system. All 254 counties in the state of Texas use the same system, and it's very antiquated. I think the greatest challenge is going to be the changes with DMV because that affects us on the front end, and it affects the customers coming in.
What would you like to see for the department in the future?
We will be accepting point-of-sale credit cards within the next month. [Customers] can walk up to the counter and pay for [a] transaction—whether it be a vehicle or property tax—with a credit or debit card. I'm looking forward to that. I'm just looking for innovative ways that we can improve efficiency, and I think that can be achieved [through] the use of technology.