by Steve Peterson
Linda Dobson will be able to enjoy more leisure time with her family now that a Treasurer’s Office career in Plymouth County government has come to a close.
Dobson announced her retirement at the Jan. 28 board of supervisors’ meeting. Her appointed replacement was to be sworn in at the Feb. 18 supervisors’ meeting.
“Fred Riter, who was county treasurer at the time, asked me if I would be interested in working part-time in the auto department,” recalled Dobson of when she first reported to work in 1979 at the Plymouth County Treasurers’ Office at the courthouse in Le Mars.
Dobson, a lifelong Le Mars resident, worked in the Treasurer’s auto department at the 30-hours-a-week pace until 1981 when she was named to the tax department. In 1984 when the county went to a computer system, she became the system manager. She was appointed treasurer in 2000 after County Treasurer Norman Kehrberg died.
The treasurer is the custodian of all funds for the county and governmental subdivisions, Dobson explained. There are four main areas under the treasurer’s management:
• Motor Vehicle Department: titling and licensing, remitting fees monthly to the state;
• Tax Department: collection and apportion funds to all tax authorities. Oversee all revenues received from federal, state, county departments and citizens;
• Driver’s License Department: issue driver’s license and IDs, and collection of civil penalties; and
• Investment and Management of Funds: managing cash flow for daily expenses and investing longer term monies. The treasurer’s office acts as a central depository for all Plymouth County departments.
As of Jan., 2011, the county treasurer’s fee collection was expanded to collection of Department of Revenue fines and court debt for the state when a person is renewing his vehicle registration. The customer is also able to make payments directly to the treasurer by credit card and debt card.
Dobson has served three terms as county treasurer since filling out Kehrberg’s term.
“I was thrilled,” she said of her first election, noting she has been reelected along with Plymouth County Recorder Jolynn Goodchild and County Attorney Darin Raymond.
Dobson said advances included the filing of tax payments electronically, which has cut down on office visits. Some still prefer to pay in person.
“When the county built the annex building, they asked if the Drivers’ License Division would like to move there,” she said, “and we thought that it would be an excellent location. It’s worked out nicely.”
The State had offered the DL service until 2002 when it cutback to 16 permanent sites throughout Iowa It than offered counties a chance to continue the service in their counties , she explained, and we accepted and issue for two days each week.
One other change that’s going on is increasing the length of driver’s licenses from five years to eight years,” said Dobson.
To date the county has processed 50,000 drivers’ licenses since 2002.
Another change has been due to regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot have their over-the-road driving tests here but have to go elsewhere.
“We can issue renewals if everything is in order,” said Dobson, adding the new medical physical data requirements mean more work is ahead for the driver’s license counties.
Investing funds has become more of a challenge due to low interest rates, said Dobson. “Plus we also have to maintain liquidity.”
“We are committed as a county office to remain flexible with all the legislative changes that we have had to implement, while delivering our services to the public in a cost effective, professional and friendly manner,” said Dobson.
On a recent Friday, courthouse workers stopped by to wish Dobson farewell on a job well done.
County Supervisor’s Chairman Jim Henrich said, “She did a great job. There was great customer service. She treated her staff well.”
New Treasurer’s Oath
After the supervisors approved her replacement on Feb. 18, Judge Steven Andreasen was to give the Oath of Office.