Ed. note — The Independent News asked the candidate for Virginia Beach revenue commission to answer the following questions. This appeared in print on Friday, Nov. 3. Responses by incumbent Revenue Commissioner Phil Kellam, who is running unopposed, have not been edited. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Philip J. Kellam
Age on Election Day: 61
Occupation: Revenue Commissioner
(757) 362-1956 ♦ firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your specific qualifications for this office? Prior to my election as commissioner I served the administrations of two prior commissioners as Property Inspector, Trust Tax Agent, Business License Supervisor and Audit Supervisor. First elected in 1997, I am serving in my twentieth year as commissioner. In 2013, I received my designation as Master Commissioner of the Revenue from the University of Virginia. Currently, I am a member of the executive committee of the Virginia Commissioners of the Revenue Association serving as 4th Vice-President.
Over the years I have worked to build a culture of service to the taxpayers based on professionalism, accountability and courtesy. With outstanding individual support from deputies, supervisors, auditors, investigators, agents and clerks, my office will continue to seek and apply innovative ways to accomplish my duty to the citizens of Virginia. Together, we have a record of exceptional accomplishments in an era of political divisiveness and stagnation. Some of the more heralded accomplishments include: eliminating the dreaded annual requirement to obtain a “city sticker” for your vehicle (ask someone about their experience); providing Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle services (“DMV”) for vehicle title, registration and license plates; offering Drive-Thru Tax Appeals for Virginia Beach personal property taxpayers; accepting responsibilities for the administration of the Virginia Beach real estate tax relief program from the Real Estate Assessor.
During the next term I want to build upon my record of responsiveness, advocacy and innovation for Virginia taxpayers.
What are the most pressing issues to you and how will you address them in office? Over my next term I will continue to work with the City’s Department of Communications and Information Technology to deploy a new data management system for the office. This will allow us to efficiently develop programs to expand reporting, increase transparency and simplify required tax filings by business taxpayers.
I intend to continue working with the Virginia Beach City Council to revise the local method of assessment used to establish fair market value for personal property.
How will you coordinate with city officials to ensure proper function of your office? As a constitutional officer, the Commissioner of the Revenue of Virginia Beach is, in fact, a state official directly elected and accountable to the citizens of Virginia Beach. While independent of the City Council and General Assembly, I am grateful for the working relationships we have developed. I am also grateful for the funding and professional support I have received from members. I look forward to maintaining a respectful and productive relationship with both legislative bodies.
Earlier this year, with tremendous leadership from Senator Thomas Normont, the General Assembly adopted and the Governor signed a law allowing Virginia Beach to establish and administer a local registry of people renting their property for lodging. The law allows local governing bodies in Virginia, like our City Council, to adopt an ordinance that facilitates compliance with Virginia Beach’s local tax on lodging. I worked in Richmond with Virginia Beach officials, Senator Normont and other members of the General Assembly on the legislation last winter. This spring, I worked with the City Council in developing the local ordinance they adopted in June. I am prepared this fall to assist with pending revisions to the local ordinance.
As always, I will continue to work with members of the Virginia Beach City Council and the General Assembly, Attorney General and Governor of Virginia to study and report on issues affecting Virginia taxpayers.
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