Beaufort County auditor candidates seek more efficiency, transparency

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comJune 5, 2014 

Jim Beckert, left, and George Wright

SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • New photo ID rules

    A new state law requires voters to present photo identification at the polls. Voters will be asked to provide one of the following types of photo ID, unless they claim a "reasonable impediment" that explains why they lack one: a South Carolina driver's license, an S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles-issued ID card, an S.C. voter registration card with photo, federal military ID or a U.S. passport.

The Beaufort County Auditor's Office needs to be streamlined, according to the two Republicans vying to become its next leader.

Current school board member Jim Beckert and county software programmer George Wright both say improving the office's use of technology will make it more efficient and user-friendly for taxpayers.

Beckert and Wright will try to win the GOP nomination for county auditor in Tuesday's primary election, which also includes about a dozen other county, state and congressional races. With no Democrats seeking the auditor's post, the GOP winner likely will be the victor in November's general election.

Current auditor Sharon Burris, who has held the post for 27 years, is not seeking re-election and will retire when her term ends next year.

Beckert, who holds the Beaufort County Board of Education District 4 seat, wants to audit tax rolls by cross-referencing records the county already keeps with information from the auditor's, assessor's and treasurer's offices. He also wants to expand the tax information residents can view online.

Wright has stressed his experience working with the county's tax-system technology. As a programmer, Wright said he works extensively with the software that processes the county's financial information and the databases that supply the program.

Wright believes there are inactive accounts, many involving personal property, that could be eliminated from the system so that it runs more smoothly.

Both Wright and Beckert want to improve customer service by expanding staff training with the office's software. They would also divide their time among the auditor's three offices -- in Beaufort, Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.

Beckert said he intends to extend the office's hours.

Wright has said he will hire a certified public accountant to further bolster the office's financial capabilities.

County Councilman Rick Caporale, a former school board member, has endorsed Beckert.

County treasurer Doug Henderson has endorsed Wright.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

Related content:

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service