Newcomer Pickering defeats Goss for tax post

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The new year will bring a new face to the office of Lincoln County Tax Assessor/Collector after Republican Blake Pickering was elected Tuesday.

Pickering, 29, defeated incumbent Rita Goss, Democrat, who was first elected in 2011. Pickering had 6,201 votes (59.60 percent) against Goss’s 4,197 votes (40.34 percent) in unofficial numbers.

“I’m grateful to all the people who came out to vote and all of the people that have supported me,” Pickering said Tuesday night. “I want to thank everybody for having the faith in me that I can do this job, and I plan to work very hard to make sure their faith in me was well-placed.”

Blake Pickering

Blake Pickering

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Pickering took the Republican nomination for Tax Assessor/Collector in the primaries, with 51.82 percent of the vote. He beat out Becky Bartram and Wendy Mullen Smith. Goss was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Pickering is a lifetime resident of Lincoln County and is a staff accountant for the Lincoln County School District, where he has been trained to be the business manager for nearly the past six years. Pickering has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mississippi College. After serving the people of the Lincoln County School District, he wants to serve the entirety of Lincoln County, Pickering said in April.

“I want to make sure that I’m present in that office as much as possible because I want the taxpayers in Lincoln County to know that I understand that I work for them,” he said. “Whether they voted for me or not, they put me in there, and I should be available to them.”

Pickering graduated from West Lincoln Attendance Center, and attends Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with wife, Nicole and daughter, Lexi.

In August, a mistake out of Goss’s office caused county budget woes. A miscalculation resulted in total assessed property value being listed as several million dollars too high, which caused a tax revenue loss of approximately $531,000.