Greenwich Tax Collector
TAX COLLECTORSALARIED 2-YEAR-TERM Vote for 1The Tax Collector is responsible for collection of real and personal property taxes levied in the Town.
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Biographical Statement (300 character limit)
If elected, how would you automate the Tax Collector's office? (600 character limit)
What qualities and qualifications make you best suited for this position? (600 character limit)
What is the best way to ensure that those who are in arrears on their property tax payments do pay their taxes? (600 character limit)
My abiding belief in our democracy is my North Star. I am compelled to run for office because I have been fortunate to live in the US, in CT and in Greenwich. Our very democracy is at stake. Being part of the solution by serving the community is my goal. Tax collecting keeps the town running safely.
It is vitally important that we bring innovation to our tax collecting system. We need to upgrade to 21st century technology. I would like to see tax payments made easily direct from a taxpayer’s bank account. I would also like to see tax payments made from apps such as Venmo and PayPal. My goal is to make tax payments as easy as online shopping. In doing so, we will be preparing to meet the needs of the next generation of taxpayers. My plan would be to consult with a few well regarded financial technology companies to create a long term plan for innovation in tax payments.
Given my experience on Wall Street, my Harvard MBA and my 17 years working as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Executive Coach, I am uniquely qualified to understand the financial and emotional underpinnings of tax paying. Everyone of us has strong emotions around paying taxes and the financial impact of those payments on our families. I can speak both the languages of finances and emotions, giving me the capability to communicate a message of empathy and understanding while collecting taxes to keep our town running properly.
Every person in arrears has a unique story as to why and how they are in that position. My guess is that being in that position is anxiety provoking and painful. I would work with each person to develop a payment plan that makes sense for them and for the town of Greenwich. If all else fails, and we can’t collect the taxes within the 15 year statute of limitations, then I would implement a tax sale. Doing so would be the last option after every effort has been exhausted to collect unpaid taxes. In the end my job as tax collector is to make sure that taxes are paid fairly, fully and on time.
Heather Smeriglio is a third generation Greenwich Native and is committed to her hometown. A former Banker with 30+ years experience, she began her career in the Tax Office in 2013. She is a Certified Connecticut Municipal Tax Collector receiving her accreditation from the State of CT in 2016.
The Tax Collectors office currently offers several ways to pay taxes including online payment options and during high volume months the use of a lockbox service is employed to speed processing. We work as a team to get the job done! During the pandemic I remained committed to serving the tax payers. I continued working with my team each day processing mail payments and fielding phone calls. I ensured that the taxpayers received prompt effective service and all deposits were handled on a daily basis. With my leadership and proven experience I helped the residents thru a most challenging time
Heather is a Certified Connecticut Municipal Tax Collector receiving her accreditation in 2016. She is currently attending re-certification classes and believes her professional certification by the State of CT is of the utmost importance. Having an understanding and compassionate approach to those who are having difficulty in paying their taxes is paramount. Heather worked as a account clerk in the Tax Office for four years before becoming Tax Collector and has a strong understanding and knowledge of the systems and procedures of the office.
I believe that having a compassionate spirit while remaining fiscally responsible is the best way to approach taxpayers who have found themselves in arrears on their tax payments. I recently read in a leadership book to start each day by asking myself this question:
"Who can I help today"? I think that communication is of the utmost importance and encourage residents to stop by my office and discuss remedies to tax issues. In my opinion enforcement tactics should only be used as a very last resort, when all other avenues have been explored and exhausted.
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