August 2019

2019 Women in Business: Maria Walls, CP

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Beaufort County Treasurer

Entering her second term as Beaufort County’s Treasurer, Maria Walls is a wife, mother of four, and Certified Public Accountant focused on safeguarding public funds, customer service development, and maximizing investment opportunities for Beaufort County.

Maria’s prior professional experience as an auditor and Beaufort County’s Deputy Treasurer, built a foundation for achievement in her first term. This included launching two major websites, BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com and myBeaufortCounty.com; working with state representatives to change South Carolina law to allow for electronic billing, rather than snail mail only; becoming the first county in the state to offer delivery of tax bills via email and an app (myBeaufortCounty); implementing a staff development program to create a culture of leadership and ownership; achieving the highest collection rate for Beaufort County in over a decade; and increasing investment returns 699 percent.

Maria has equally high goals for the next four years. Although the Treasurer’s Office has one of the most transparent websites in the state, which includes interactive graphs and detailed data available for download, the first goal is identifying more opportunities for transparency. “You can never be too transparent when it comes to taxation,” Maria said. “Tax collections are vital to the successful operation of government services, and I’m excited for new opportunities to share more about our work.”

As a growing county with changing needs, the Treasurer’s Office will increase its preparedness to manage the additional volume this will entail. “Rather than looking primarily at staffing increases as a solution, a larger workload can be handled by expanding the use of technology to replace manual processes,” Maria explained. “I am very grateful to have a team that is dedicated to broadening their knowledge so we can increase our capacity.”

Finally, taxpayers can expect continued enhancement of services like additional payment options; reducing payment processing fees; and advocating for a change in state law that would allow delinquent tax bills to be mailed before penalties are applied, not afterwards. Maria believes government needs to be adaptable to its citizens. “Whether we’re talking about new services or updating antiquated state laws, my job is to continue to lead the Treasurer’s Office congruous to the needs of our taxpayers. We’ve accomplished a lot, but achievement in this role isn’t a set destination. It is a constant evolution, centered upon continued transparency, progressive customer service, and forward-thinking practices.”

Sign up to receive your tax bill online by visiting www.myBeaufortCounty.com or learn more about the Treasurer’s Office at www.BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com.

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