A Franklin County farmer and bookkeeper is challenging a five-year incumbent to head the county treasurer's office.
Josie Koelzer of Basin City will face Tiffany Coffland, who is seeking a second term to lead the office that's in charge of collecting taxes for all taxing jurisdictions in the county from schools to mosquito and cemetery districts.
Both of their names will appear on the primary ballot Aug. 17 but a winner won't be decided until the general election Nov. 2.
Koelzer said she has no specific changes in mind for the office at this point but is eager to hear more ideas from citizens about what changes they want for the job.
Koelzer, 49, said she felt now was the time to give back to her community. The last of her three children just graduated from high school, and she graduated last year from Washington State University Tri-Cities with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in human resources.
Koelzer handles the books for RJ Koelzer Inc., the farm she and her husband Rick own. She also works part time for a Tri-City agricultural firm and the Ed Poe Agency, a Connell insurance firm, helping with the finances.
Koelzer, who is running as a Republican, said her work experience has given her familiarity with finances, accounting and budgets.
But she also feels she can bring personal service to the office and be responsive to citizen needs. Koelzer said her energy and efficiency are also assets.
"I'm a people person," she said. "And I'm real goal orientated."
Koelzer said she wants to look at what other county treasurers are doing to improve the office.
Coffland, who was appointed in 2005 and elected in 2006, has a list of improvements she'd like to tackle if re-elected.
Coffland, 42, of Pasco, has worked for the county since 1989 when she took a job as a licensing deputy. She started working in government accounting in 1991 and earned an associate's degree with a concentration in accounting from Columbia Basin College in 1995.
In 2009, she served as audit chairwoman for the Washington State Association of Treasurers.
Coffland, a Democrat, said since being elected she's improved efficiency by using a machine to process tax payments rather than processing everything by hand.
And she moved the treasurer's office onto the same accounting system as the auditor's office.
Coffland's office also was the first in the state to send real estate excise information to the Department of Revenue electronically.
Coffland would like to make it possible for the office to accept debit and credit card payments at the counter.
She said she also wants to start Check-21, a program that would allow the office to electronically send checks to the bank and save money on armored car carrier insurance.
Coffland, who is married with two adult children, also plans to start monthly electronic payment of taxes for those who do not pay through a mortgage company. She was one of several county treasurers that encouraged state legislators to pass the new law. She said she felt taxpayers should have the option to pay monthly.
Coffland has raised $5,140 for her campaign so far, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Koelzer has no contributions listed.
The treasurer position pays $83,782 a year.