Chaves County Treasurer Steve Harris is seeking re-election to the position. He has served as treasurer for four years, and is running unopposed in both the June 5 primary and the general election in November.
A graduate of Eastern New Mexico University-Portales, Harris earned a degree in business administration. He is quick to attribute the financial success of the county as a “reflection of the great staff that we have, leadership on the County Commission, the working relationships with the other elected officials and with the taxpayers and citizens of Chaves County.” Harris praised county officials and personnel for maintaining a flat budget over several years and still being able to provide services.
“When staff is willing to sacrifice in terms of being able to operate better, you have to give them credit for that,” he said.
In essence, the treasurer’s position is not about political views, but rather the ability to manage money. Harris said that the country treasurer must be innovative and detail-oriented. He complimented his staff on their efforts to maintain a high level of detail and accuracy in their work.
The most high-profile activity a treasurer performs is collecting taxes. In a general sense, the process is based on the warrant, or an invoice, provided by the county assessor.
“When you can take an angry individual, you’re talking about taxes and paying taxes, and bring them in … and they can leave at a minimum at least understanding why, that’s a huge bonus. I thoroughly enjoy that,” Harris said.
A permanent ambition, Harris aims to reduce delinquencies, or taxes that are past due, and increase the percentage of the warrants the county collects. “Reducing those is something that is reflective of the entire treasurer’s office,” he said. Additionally, Harris is charged with collecting revenue and ensuring it’s attributed to the proper authorities.
Speaking about his work, Harris said, “If you find a job that you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life. I wouldn’t say that every day is a joy to go to work, but the vast majority of them are. I thoroughly enjoy the job. I enjoy the relationships that I’ve established.”
Harris and his wife Diane have two sons, Taylor and Lane.