About the Treasurer

John Kennedy, Portage County Treasurer
John Kennedy, Portage County Treasurer

County Treasurer Duties

The Treasurer has three very important roles in county government – tax collector, banker, and chief investment officer.

As the county’s tax collector, the Treasurer is responsible for gathering the resources necessary for local subdivisions to provide important services like police and fire protection, roads, schools, parks and libraries. The Treasurer also collects revenues for the county itself, which provides services including emergency management, public assistance, criminal prosecutions and many more.

Residents pay for these services primarily through taxes on real estate, levied by the county and by its various subdivisions and collected by the Treasurer. In addition to real estate taxes, the Treasurer collects taxes on manufactured homes, personal property, inheritance, cigarettes, and hotels. The Treasurer also collects license fees on vendors, special assessments (like storm water runoff fees), and fines and fees levied by other departments.

The county’s “banker,” the Treasurer is also tasked with keeping tax revenues safe after collection, and efficiently accounting for all money paid into and taken out of the county treasury. This role requires close cooperation with the Auditor, and as a part of the checks and balances of county government, the Treasurer makes daily reports of deposits and expenditures to the Auditor. The offices of the Treasurer and Auditor must also balance their financial statements monthly, and work closely to effectively account for all funds during required audits.

Serving as the county’s chief investment officer, the Treasurer invests county funds to ensure their safety, liquidity, and the best possible return. This role requires constant monitoring to maintain the county’s investment portfolio. The county’s Investment Advisory Committee holds the Treasurer accountable for this work, and requires the Treasurer to provide financial data, forecasting, and interest yield information on a quarterly basis to make sure the county’s investment goals are fully met.

In addition, the Treasurer serves on several boards, including the Board of Revision, reviewing property valuation appeals from residents; Budget Commission, monitoring local subdivision budgets; Data Processing Board, reviewing technological policies and upgrades; and Land Bank, returning blighted and forfeited properties to functional use.