(The Center Square) - Stevens County Treasurer Leslie Valz has been responsible for safeguarding public funds for 15 school districts, 13 fire districts and other public entities for almost six years.
In that role, she has maintained a portfolio of more than $80 million in cash and investments. She has also continually looked for ways to increase efficiencies through technological advancements that benefit taxpayers.
Valz, a Republican, is seeking to continue that work. She is running for re-election to the post she has held since 2016.
“I want to continue to build on the processes that my team has implemented to make a visit to my office the best possible experience for Stevens County residents,” she said.
Toward that end, Valz has made it a focus to help property owners who have fallen on hard times. She inherited a number of tax parcels that were delinquent and facing foreclosure, and either set up payment plans or found exemption programs that helped families deal with that debt.
As a result of that work, Valz said foreclosures are down significantly, while county revenue is up.
According to Valz, her focus on technological advancements paid off big time when the COVID-19 pandemic led to shutdowns of government offices. At a time when many real estate excise taxes needed to be processed electronically, there was also a rise in property closings, she said.
Valz said her team utilized systems that had already been put in place to keep up with the demand for services.
Technological improvements have also provided taxpayers with online bill pay options and the ability to have payments automatically withdrawn on due dates, she said.
Valz’s team issues tax bill deadline reminders so that people do not miss due dates and incur unnecessary late fees. The upgraded website has quick and easy payment options.
The treasurer’s office is responsible for annual tax collections that range from $42 to $48 million for more than 40 taxing districts.
During her time with Stevens County, Valz has led the finance team in securing multiple county-owned bonds that have leveraged dollars to fund public projects instead of utilizing private banks, which has cut fees.
The office also serves as the bank for all school districts, processing millions of dollars in payroll and accounts payable batches for each school district throughout the month.
Through restructuring, Valz said staffing levels have remained the same despite a near doubling of money being processed. She said the office now meets and exceeds deadlines for local government reporting.
Valz’ background includes a degree from Eastern Washington University in Business Administration.