Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Experience Matters in F.C. Treasurer’s Office

My name is Jody Acosta and I am the current City of Falls Church treasurer. I have eight years of experience in the treasurer’s office, first as the chief deputy and then as treasurer since July of this year, when the former treasurer had to resign due to health reasons.

I have lived in the City of Falls Church for the past 23 years, along with my husband Phil. We have three children, all of whom went through the Falls Church City school system. I have always had a passion for public service and have served many Falls Church civic organizations over the years, including the Women’s Commission, the Elementary PTA, both of my daughters’ Girl Scout troops, and Citizens for a Better City to name a few. I am also a current League of Women Voters member, a member of the F.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Falls Church City Democratic Committee.

My professional experience includes eight years in commercial and consumer banking as a loan officer and branch manager, five years as a V.P. and controller of a multi-store business franchise, three years as a small business owner in Falls Church providing tax and accounting services to other small businesses, seven years as the director of accounting for a national association and eight years as the chief deputy treasurer of Falls Church City.

As I have been campaigning door to door throughout the City, it has been my pleasure to talk with not only old friends and acquaintances, but many of our newer residents as well. It has been a great experience speaking with everyone and sharing information about what I do in the treasurer’s office. Some people asked if I set the tax rate and budget for the coming year, but that is not a function of the treasurer’s office. The tax rate is set by the City Council and the budget is proposed by the City manager and generated by the chief financial officer and finance department. The treasurer’s job is not a policy position in that the treasurer does not set policy or have a vote on matters before City Council.

By Jody Acosta

One of a treasurer’s main jobs is that of tax collector. While the treasurer cannot lower your taxes, a good treasurer can have a positive impact on tax rates by doing a good job on collections. A high collection rate can reduce the tax burden on all citizens. Our tax collection rate over the last five years is 99.34 percent – one of the best in the state.

The City recently turned over the collections of delinquent water bills to the treasurer’s office. Under my leadership, the treasurer’s office collected over $400,000 and cleared more than 1,700 accounts in just over a month. To date, we have collected over $570,000. This is money that goes directly into the City coffers since the sale of the water system was completed in January, and it is part of the current budget surplus. These are the kinds of results you can continue to expect with me at the helm of the treasurer’s office. Experience matters.

There are other considerations to the office besides collections. For instance, I have a highly trained and efficient staff that I have worked with for the last eight years. They know almost as many of our customers at the counter as I do and they are an incredible asset to the office.

The job of treasurer is a full time job and I am at the counter five days a week. I will continue to be a working treasurer, rolling up my sleeves and working alongside my staff to get the job done and keep our office one of the most efficient offices in the state in terms of workload and personnel.

I am currently working on a new initiative offering online payments for all City fees and invoices. You can already pay your taxes online and I am working to add online payments for dog licenses, parking tickets, trash/yard waste stickers and other City fees. In addition to making it more convenient for citizens to pay, offering online payments speeds the collection of all monies owed to the City and helps lower costs for both the City and the taxpayer.

Experience matters in this job, and I have that experience. Knowing your community matters in this job, and I know our community. And finally, being committed to the job and the community matters in this job, and I have that commitment. Experience, roots, commitment – I have them all. I believe there is no better candidate for the job of Falls Church City Treasurer and I ask for your vote on November 4.

 


Jody Acosta, currently the interim treasurer for the City of Falls Church, is running for election to the office November 4.

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