Burcham, Brock battle for treasurer

Published 11:06 am Friday, October 24, 2008

A long-time businessman from South Point hopes to unseat the one-term incumbent in the race for Lawrence County treasurer.

Perry Brock, owner and operator of Brock Vault Co., a business his father (Donald Brock) started, is serving his third term as a Fayette Township trustee. He is also on the board of directors of the state township association and president of the county trustee association. His reason to run for treasurer comes from a desire to serve his home county, he said.

“I would like to see the office run efficiently for the people of Lawrence County. Basically, I want to be there to make sure the office is run efficiently for Lawrence County,” he said. “I considered commissioner. You pray about it and do what the Lord leads you to.”

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Brock says his experience running a business, plus his work as chairman of the state finance committee of the state township association, makes him qualified for the office. Also he recently earned his certified investment planning with the state treasurer’s office through the state township association and completed the leadership academy of the state township association.

As far as changes Brock would like to see in the office is to institute online payment of taxes.

“We already have it set up through the banks,” he said. “A lot of people are getting into the online payment.”

Brock, 47, and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of two — a daughter who attends Liberty University and a son at Chesapeake High School. He is a member of Big Branch Church, where he serves on the executive committee and is a trustee. He is also in the Lawrence County Gideons.

“I would like to serve the people of Lawrence County and most of all have Christ shown more in my life, regardless of win or lose,” he said.

This fall is the first re-election campaign for treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham. The long-time Proctorville resident is a CPA who has his investment and insurance licenses. A graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Burcham, 51, began his career with Hayflich and Steinberg, an accounting firm in Huntington, W.Va. In 1986 he opened his own CPA firm that is now taken care of by his wife and daughter.

He says it is his work in investments that qualify him for another term.

“I believe that helps me in my job and duties in investing the county’s funds,” Burcham said. “I feel at this point in my career I believe I have a debt to public service to the people in the county. In the past four years we made a great number of positive changes, more than in any other office in the county.”

He cites the program where taxpayers can pay their real estate taxes at six of the seven local banks — Ohio River, Ohio Valley, U.S. Bank, City National, WesBanco and Liberty.

“You can take care of that with other banking needs, use the drive through and not go through security (at the courthouse),” Burcham said. “You don’t have to be a customer at those banks. There are 17 locations throughout the county for people to be able to pay their taxes instead of just one. Some of the people who may bank out of the county, it gives them an opportunity.”

He also cites a change in the tax bill sent out to county homeowners that breaks down the allocation of taxes to various beneficiaries such as school districts.

“Previously the amount of tax taxpayers didn’t know how much the school was getting,” he said. “It allows greater transparency with government. You know how much out of your tax bills is going to support your school system. It allows the individual taxpayers to hold the school board and administration accountable.”

He also started a program where by delinquent taxpayers can make monthly payments and allow others to pay their taxes ahead of time on a budget system, comparable to the ones set up by utilities.

Burcham would like to set up a Web site for the treasurer’s office and allow taxpayers to make payment by credit card or checking account drafts.

“Budget constraints have delayed some of these programs,” he said.