Howell County News/ Amanda MendezHowell County News/ Amanda Mendez

In pursuit of a reader question: Did Crow change the Collector contract?

Few events in Howell County politics have captured the public’s attention like the 2022 race for Collector of Revenue. Independent and newcomer to county government Janet Crow won the seat in the contest against Republican Mark Collins, who had served on the Howell County Commission for more than two decades. Public interest and reader engagement has remained active in Crow’s career as Collector, so last week Howell County News sat down with her to ask the most enduring question readers have continued to ask – Did Janet Crow change the contract that compensates the collector personally for certain taxes collected on behalf of the cities of West Plains and Willow Springs?
The short answer is no, but although the contract mechanism remains in place, Crow says she is not pocketing that money as personal income. Rather, these sums have been funneled into her office’s tax maintenance fund. 
In an interview on Oct. 26, Crow elaborated on her reasons for not waiting to claim the commission fees from the contracts. She said collecting for the cities is not a substantial amount of extra work and uses resources paid for by the county.
As previously reported by Howell County News, Crow approached the Howell County Commission on April 5 about changing the contracts. She had taken office on March 6. At that time, the commissioners and representatives of the City of West Plains expressed no interest in changing the operating agreement. Willow Springs City Administrator Beverly Hicks did state interest in changing the agreement, but these contracts remain in place. 
Crow said Thursday the contracts will likely remain unchanged throughout her tenure as Collector of Revenue, but that she will not collect the commissions as personal income. 
“I didn’t want to go [into a new position] blindly and make a decision on where the money should go. I know it would never go to my pocket…I did not want to throw that back into the general fund of the county because I could see that there’s a lot of need in my office for upgrading equipment, etc…so I’m using that money that would have been to the Collector, we put it into the tax maintenance fund which will help that office run more smoothly,” Crow said. 
Upgrades will include new hardware and software, security upgrades, and electrical repair.
As of the date of this writing, the sum collected pursuant to the agreements is $6,542.20. March to September is the “slow time for tax paying,” according to Crow, so she expects this fund to begin to inflate rapidly after January. 
The office projects have cost $2,591.77 so far and have included the costs of pain, caulk, electrical plates, labor, and security upgrades. 
Do you have a difficult question to ask a public official in Howell County? As your local newspaper, it is our duty to ask these questions on behalf of our readers, the public. Send questions or story requests to editor@howellcountynews.com
 
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