Duckworth won’t seek new term

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2004

With City Tax Collector Pat Duckworth planning to not seekre-election next year, Mayor Bob Massengill asked aldermen Tuesdayto consider phasing out the city tax office.

Massengill urged the board to begin the thought process ofcombining some of Duckworth’s office’s duties with the City Clerk’sOffice. He also suggested the city contract with the county foryearly tax collection services.

“I think would it save the city some money,” Duckworth said insupport of the mayor’s plan.

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Brookhaven is perhaps the only remaining state city to have aseparate tax collector’s office. Most cities’ tax duties arehandled either the city clerk’s office or their respective countytax offices.

“Brookhaven and Hattiesburg are the only two that I know of thathave a separate office for the tax collector,” said Duckworth,adding that Hattiesburg recently joined with Forrest County for taxcollection services.

Duckworth is in the last year of her fourth term in office. Shewill be retiring, and Deputy Tax Collector Elsie Smith is alsoplanning to retire.

Officials said it is the “ideal time” to consider a change.Massengill raised the issue last night, he said, because the cityhas to finalize its plans by the end of the year.

“It should be a savings to the city that will not adverselyaffect the taxpayer,” Massengill said.

Under the proposal, the city would contract with the county taxoffice. City taxes would be paid in the county office and then sentto the city clerk’s office.

In other city government activity, aldermen approved aMassengill plan that should limit department heads’ appearances atfuture board meetings. Currently in some instances, departmentheads attend the occasionally hours-long meetings only to offer noreport to the board.

Massengill said he would like to have staff meetings withdepartment heads on Mondays before regular Tuesday evening boardmeetings. The mayor and department heads will discuss variousissues, and he could bring them to the board on Tuesday.

With board agendas delivered on Friday, aldermen said they couldstill request department heads to attend if needed to discuss aspecific issue.

“They’ll be here if we need them here,” Massengill said.

In city personnel activity, Police Chief Pap Henderson toldaldermen that the city’s new animal control officer, GeorgeLambright, is expected to start Monday.

Lambright, a police department dispatcher who will handle animalcontrol officer duties during off hours, is on vacation this week.The city has been without an animal control officer for severalmonths.

Also Tuesday, following a brief executive session, aldermenhired Stacy Leggett as bookkeeper in the City Clerk’s office. Theposition was vacant after Mike Jinks was elected city clerk lastmonth.