HOUGHTON - The Houghton County treasurer's race pits the county treasurer of almost eight years against a longtime appraiser for several townships.
Republican Kathleen Beattie is running for re-election against Democrat Linda Pizzi.
Beattie has been in office since 2005. She has also worked as a banker, office manager and owned Schmidt's Corner General Store for 14 years.
Beattie said one of her top accomplishments is revamping the tax foreclosure process. People who have a hard time paying their tax bill can get an extra year to pay their taxes before foreclosure if they make appropriate payment arrangements.
"I don't want to take everybody's property just because we can," she said. "If there's some way of keeping you paying those taxes, on the tax roll, I think that's a good thing."
Another reform instituted by Beattie is the Houghton County Land Bank Authority, through which the county can sell foreclosed or abandoned land back to productive use. Transactions so far have included the purchase of land through a realtor and side-lot acquisitions from neighboring houses. In one case, it enabled a person to get a loan to buy a house instead of having to buy the land at tax auction, where they would have had to pay 100 percent of the price.
"That helps put a family into the neighborhood, instead of a speculator," she said.
If re-elected, Beattie would like to get more people using the county's online resources, which include property tax records and land records. She would also like to work more with township treasurers about getting their data on a timelier basis, so they can put it online.
"I'd just like to keep the programs going and find new and better ways to serve the people," she said.
Pizzi said she has 26 years of government experience. She began working for Houghton County in 1981 in the equalization department, working under three directors. She served as equalization director in Keweenaw County for a year and a half as it was working on zoning amendments, and has also been assessor for Adams, Franklin, Osceola and Portage townships.
"I know I could do a very good job," she said. "I've got a lot of bookkeeping background. I've got a lot of finance and accounting experience. ... All of the accounting is very similar. We have usually the same auditors auditing the township as audit the county."
If elected, Pizzi said, she would follow the three-year calendar for foreclosure, and make sure everyone eligible for the homestead tax credit received it.
"I've done a really good job in government offices in general, and I know I could do a good job there," she said.