Sheehan wants to remain tax assessor

Published 5:59 pm Monday, January 27, 2014

Weida Sheehan is preparing to run for tax assessor for the first time, but she isn’t a rookie at the position.

Sheehan currently serves as Dallas County Tax Assessor, but instead of being elected, she was appointed at the start of 2013 after Frances Hughes, the prior department head, retired at the end of 2012. At the time, Hughes hand-picked Sheehan to be her successor.

Prior to taking over the reigns, Sheehan served as chief clerk under Hughes for a number of years. In total, Sheehan has 26 years of experience in the tax assessor’s office.

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“In order to do a good job in this position, I think you have to have a enjoy working with people and have a love for numbers,” she said. “It’s important to be efficient too.”

If successful in her bid to become tax assessor, Sheehan will be responsible for appraising the tax value of all property in Dallas County. The money her office collects is transferred into Alabama’s general fund — used for ordinary functions of state government, debt service and capital outlay projects.

Though it’s only been a year, Sheehan said she has developed an enjoyment for working with numbers and financial figures. Oddly enough, figuring out how to live on a tight budget was Sheehan’s initial reasoning for getting involved in tax assessment.

After graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Sheehan got married and focused on raising her children, but getting by each month became difficult.

“I was young and at the time I wasn’t working,” she said. “Money was tight and I just said to myself, ‘this isn’t the way I want to live my life.’”

Eight years after her high school graduation, she began taking classes at Wallace Community College — Selma. Her first job out of Wallace, in the late 80s, was as a clerk in the tax assessor’s office, where she’s been ever since.

One of her goals is to transition all of the tax assessment files — dating back to the early 1900s — into an electronic system.

“You know it’s my first election and I do have a bit to learn and watch out for,” she said. “I think the most important thing is that no matter what I’m going to work hard and efficiently, but at a fast pace.”