Veteran C-T has challenger in Roanoke

JoAnne Kirchner (left) and Sarah Milton.
JoAnne Kirchner (left) and Sarah Milton. Photos by Steve Clark.

Two independent candidates are vying for the office of clerk-treasurer in Roanoke.

JoAnne Kirchner is the race’s incumbent. She is being challenged by Sarah Milton.

JoAnne Kirchner
Kirchner, 70, has served as Roanoke’s clerk-treasurer for 23 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in education, majoring in history, political science and business. She is a graduate of the Huntington County Leadership Academy. She served as an adjunct instructor at the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne business school.

Kirchner notes that her duties include following State Board of Accounts guidelines, maintaining good audits, remitting taxes and invoices, reconciling over nine major accounts for the town, managing investments and issuing over 875 utility bills on a monthly basis.

“My longtime experience insures excellence in these tasks going forward,” she states.

Reflecting on her accomplishments in office, Kirchner cites successful audits by the State Board of Accounts. She notes that the town’s budgeting software is upgraded annually for those audits.

Kirchner shares that in the past she has adjusted the due date for utility bills to accommodate Senior Citizens. She also touts an ordinance she drafted that provides for a one-time adjustment per year on utility bills for high water usage, due to leaks.

Additionally, Kirchner notes that she writes comprehensive summaries of Roanoke Town Council meetings. These summaries are often referred to when the town is researching future projects and seeking resolution to various issues, she notes.

“Having been a history major, I find enjoyment in knowing that I have provided insight and context to past events of the town, preserved for decades to come,” states Kirchner.

If re-elected, Kirchner says one of her top priorities would be giving the town’s utility customers a way to pay their bills online. She notes that she recently attended a seminar for the online payment service Invoice Cloud and that she would endeavor to make that service available to customers early next year.

Kirchner says she would also consider introducing a bimonthly “Take a Resident to Lunch Day.” These sessions, she says, would enable her to hear residents’ concerns, answer questions and inquire how her office can make their lives easier.

Additionally, Kirchner says that she and her longtime deputy clerk, Kay Moore, would continue to adhere to conservative spending practices.

“We are very conservative with the spending that we can control, like office supplies, and always research the best deals,” states Kirchner. “We turn off lights and monitor thermostats as well. Every little bit helps.

“We treat tax dollars as our own and want to spend them wisely.”

Sarah Milton
Milton, 42, is a Huntington College graduate. She earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting, with a minor in business management. She has 18 years’ experience in accounting, including the areas of accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial statements, collections, payroll and taxes.

Since 2011, Milton has worked for a local law office, preparing estate, business and individual income taxes. In 2017, she became an enrolled agent, which is a federally authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation. With this title, Milton notes that she is empowered by the United States Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service.

“This elite status requires that I uphold ethical standards and complete continuing education courses in ethics and (keep) current on federal tax issues, rules and regulations,” she states.

Milton is also a notary public. In addition, she has served on the Roanoke Village Association Board for over a decade.

If elected, Milton says her priorities would include the introduction of an online bill payment option for the town’s utility customers. She would also update the technology in the clerk-treasurer’s office, as well as streamline the duties of the office.

Additionally, Milton says she would endeavor to provide the community with consistent and convenient office hours.

“I would like to provide a more user-friendly office by opening up the office one Saturday morning a month for a trial period, to ensure that those residents who cannot come into the office during the week have a way to address issues or concerns,” she states.

Milton adds that, in going door to door and meeting citizens, she has heard many suggestions about how the town could be improved. One of the main suggestions, she says, is that the town should begin offering recycling.

“I would like to bring these ideas before Town Council to make this place we call home the best it can be,” she states.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. There will be opportunities to vote early in Roanoke at the Cottage Event Center, 9524 U.S.-24N, on Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.