Democratic Primary – Auditor

Candidates for Auditor: (listed in alphabetical order as there is no incumbent in this election)
R. Brenton Dana, and Margaret R. Rogers

1. Please share a little about yourself, and why you want to run for this office.

R. Brenton Dana
“I am the sole surviving triplet son of Paula (Fleming) Dana of Darlington and long-time Darlington and Pee Dee Area newspaper columnist, the late J. Dwight Dana. I am a 2008 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism earning my BA in Public Relations. I have worked as a staffer for the South Carolina State Senate, served as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America as well as a journalist and media correspondent.

Brenton Dana, left and Margaret R. Rogers, left.

Brenton Dana, left and Margaret R. Rogers, left.

Darlington County is a special place because of the people who live here. Citizens of our county need an auditor who will bring the new ideas and fresh leadership the office needs to save taxpayers money.”

Margaret R. Rogers
“The reason I want to run for Darlington County for this office is because I have worked with the public for most of my life; such as working as a sales person for several different stores in Darlington, a bank in Darlington County, working in the school system in Darlington County, Florence County, Abilene TX and Okinawa Japan. And last but not least, I have worked the past 30 years in the Darlington County Auditor’s office working under June Demars, and the present auditor Rosa Hudson as my supervisor.

I feel like the experience I have had working with the public for many years gives me the experience to I need to be an auditor here in Darlington County and under the great leadership that Rosa Hudson has given me.

2. What is the most important quality in a good auditor that is needed for Darlington County?

R. Brenton Dana
“Darlington County needs an auditor who is accessible. I feel strongly that the auditor can’t possibly do the work of the people from behind a desk all day.

I would like to hold open houses and be out in the community to help people learn the different ways they can save money on their tax bills.

Building and maintaining positive relationships with the people of Darlington County as well as county officials and county council is critical to making sure the auditor’s office is properly funded. I am the only candidate who has gone and will continue to go above and beyond to build such relationships.”

Margaret R. Rogers
I feel the most important qualities that a good auditor needs is leadership, integrity and experience.

3. Can you describe the duties of the office of auditor? Are you willing to put in the long hours the job requires?

R. Brenton Dana:
“The office of the auditor is administrative in nature and operates in accordance with South Carolina State Code. The office gathers all taxable information of real estate and personal property. This information in then utilized in determining the assessed fair market value where the millage rate is then applied to produce an accurate, consistent and timely tax notice. It is the responsibility of the auditor’s office to grant South Carolina’s Homestead Exemption discount for those who qualify as well.

One of the aforementioned reasons I am seeking this seat from the people of Darlington County is that I believe they deserve an auditor that is willing to roll up their sleeves to go to work. Long hours are not burdensome or inconvenient when you are doing the necessary work of the people.”

Margaret R. Rogers
The duties of the auditor here in Darlington County is a long list; working with the public is number one and of course the most important; being a good leader; education, which I have a BS degree from Morris College in Sumter S.C.; being able to set the levy and work with other townships in Darlington County; run reports for the large manufactures in Darlington County such as Sonoco, Nucor Steel, and many others; working with the Darlington County School District in setting up the levy; working with Darlington County council members and our administrator; working with Darlington County treasurer, the county tax collector, and the tax assessor’s office. There are so many other duties I cannot begin to describe them all, it would take pages to tell all the duties the job requires. But I have the experience and the transition will be seamless.

4. What qualifies you to be an auditor? Do you have a financial or accounting background? Please share your experience with accounting and dealing with large budgets.

R. Brenton Dana:
“While I do have previous experience working with large budgets and administrative responsibilities, I don’t have a formal accounting degree. However, I have a deep knowledge of taxes and I bring to the office the new ideas and fresh leadership our citizens deserve. I will be a voice for the people and work to help them save on their property tax bills whenever and wherever I can. I will also seek out ways to increase the efficiency of the auditor’s office by adding technology and staff.”

Margaret R. Rogers
My background in finances is working here in the Darlington County auditor’s office for 30 years; as already mentioned above, my experience is extensive. My BS degree was in Education, but I had a lot of math instruction in college to combine with my extensive work experiences.

5. What are your thoughts on how the overcharge of county taxes was handled? How would you have handled it? Do you feel the people should have been repaid?

R. Brenton Dana:
“I believe that each citizen who was overcharged deserved to have his/her taxes reassessed to the proper tax amount so correct taxes could be collected. Additionally, taxpayers should fully understand the mishap so everyone knows why it happened and we can keep from letting it happen again. While this would have been a large undertaking, I feel it is the right thing to do for the taxpayers and citizens of Darlington County.”

Margaret R. Rogers
I feel like the matter was handled in a very fair manner; and the decision that was affected for the good citizens of Darlington County was handled well. But, I would have handled it in a different manner. I would have had a county meeting with the citizens of Darlington County to get their input on how the money was distributed back to them. They certainly deserve an input on their taxes.

Author: Duane Childers

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