Barkley to seek election as revenue commissioner

Sharon BarkleySharon B. Barkley, Marengo County Revenue Commissioner, has announced her candidacy to run for the office in the 2014 election. She is married to Glenn Barkley and they reside in Calvary. They have three children, a daughter, Danielle B. Hale, married to Tyler Hale, they have two children, Slade, 7 and Claire 1, and two sons Tim and Reid Barkley. Sharon has worked in the Revenue Commissioners office since 2005.

“I love working with the public and glad when I’m able to help customers with property issues,” Barkley said. “I would like to say what a privilege it has been to serve the citizens of Marengo County as Revenue Commissioner since being appointed by Governor Bentley on Sept. 6, 2012. I would like to share with you what has been accomplished since taking office along with the goals I have for the future.”

According to Barkley, one of the successes of her brief tenure atop the Marengo County revenue office has been her ability to utilize both traditional and social media in keeping taxpayers informed.

“First of all, I feel that it is very important to keep the public informed with news in the office that affects them. On a regular basis, I will utilize the local media to report tax deadlines, office upgrades, classes attended, homestead changes and information about my office. I also have a facebook page ( where I post these announcements and the Marengo county website ( as well,” Barkley said. “One goal that came to fruition was getting a Windows based property system software. There are many benefits of having this type of system. Special forms, which had to be ordered, will now be printed on plain paper. Instead of having to print assessment books and various other books and have them bound, now the data will be saved on an archive quality DVD, which will save paper and space. Customers now have the option to have their assessments e-mailed in addition to faxing or mailing. Pictures of buildings can be photographed and uploaded to the system, and deeds which have been scanned are accessible on the system. Large companies can send their personal property renditions electronically, which saves a tremendous amount of time. By saving in other areas, I was able to pay for half of the system from the 2012-2013 budget, and will have it paid for one year early.”

Barkley said the increased focus on technology has helped the office to be more serviceable for its consumers.

“The public can now view deeds which have been scanned since 2008 on our GIS site. This has been a great help to appraisers, realtors and banking institutions. It was brought about by talking with the public and listening to what would be beneficial to them,” Barkley said. “I first talked with Laurie Hall, Probate Judge, for permission to have access to the deeds. She was supportive of the idea, so I then talked with my GIS vendor and property system vendor to see if this could be linked together. I am happy to report, it has been a great feature added to our GIS site with customers very pleased to have access to it so easily.”

Barkley has also worked to improve the literature available from the revenue commissioner’s office.

“To help the public be aware of what to do when you buy property, how to compute taxes, millage rates contact numbers, etc.,” Barkley said. “I had brochures printed and distributed to City Hall in Demopolis and Linden, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board, lending institutions, realtors and attorneys. I had a computer set up in our map room to better serve the public along with updated map books for the public to view. I held a class for the public at Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital to show all of the upgrades made to the GIS website and give instructions on how the site could help them with their profession or personal use. I feel it is vital to have a well trained staff and so each of the clerks in the office as well as me have been attending property tax education courses sponsored by Auburn University. After completing and passing five courses, I will now be eligible to take an exam in March to be a Certified Tax Administrator. Also, I am very proud of the helpful, friendly staff I am working with, they all are being cross trained so if anyone is out a customer won’t have to wait for someone to return. After taking office, I looked at ways to be better efficient and listened to what the public had voiced concerns over. The phone system was one. I had the programmer set the system up differently so that more clerks could answer an outside line, and the customer would not have to wait or be transferred. While attending a class, I learned that not only historical buildings were class 3 property but Historical Districts as well. I checked with different entities in Demopolis and was given a map of the Historical District, my office grouped these parcels together, coded them class 3 property (10 percent assessed value instead of 20 percent) which resulted in lower taxes and mailed out letters to these customers explaining the change. I hope this will give businesses an incentive to move or establish their business downtown and keep the area growing. I looked at ways to save money in the office, and made changes accordingly. I talked with the state in finding out what was mandatory to print each year and saved paper and time by eliminating unnecessary printing of records since it was accessible on the computer. I looked at vendors being used and discontinued service of those that were not cost-effective. This year our office mailed an Affidavit to claim Ad Valorem Tax Exemption to the tax exempt customers which are disabled or over 65 with income limitations. The customer had the option to sign and mail it back or bring in the form and sign for their exemption. I am happy to offer this so that it will be more convenient for them and alleviate the burden of having to drive to our office. Another example of listening to the public was the desire for them to be able to pay online or in the office with a credit/debit card. In using this service, the vendor agreed to make a county website. The website has sections for the Probate Office, Revenue Commission, County Commission, Sheriff and various other departments. Customers can find frequently asked questions, contact information, forms, links and news. Now customers can call and pay by phone, use the web or have the option to pay with their card when they come in the office. Some goals I have set for the office is to have all the property record cards scanned and be accessible on our GIS site. The scanner will be installed this week and after the GIS vendor loads his software, the clerks can begin the project. I want to have every building in the county photographed and be accessible online as well. I’m looking at ways to eliminate long lines for customers during tax season to make the customers trip to our office pleasant. I would like to encourage the public to get out and vote, so many people don’t exercise their right to vote and if you’re not registered please do so.”