County Profiles: Battle for Trustee

Dave “Caz” Cazalet

Democrat candidate

Why should you be elected Trustee?

“On any given day, the Knox County Trustee’s Office has approximately $200 million sitting idle in local banks. It earns only .65 percent interest. My opponent told WBIR ( Inside TN: J. Biggs, D. Cazalet, K. Kristy, A. Henley, Part 1 | he was satisfied with this low return. I am not.

“I will invest the taxpayers’ money in federal bonds, one of the safest investments available and currently earning 3.3 percent interest, and interest rates are rising. The additional interest would earn an additional $5 million annually for the taxpayers.

“I would set up an advisory council to advise me on how best to invest tax money.

“I would re-start the monthly reports that stopped in January 2022. Under my management, the Trustee’s office would be the most transparent in the county.

“As a newspaper editor and publisher, I managed 30 or more employees. I am a seasoned administrator.

“In managing $30 million federal grant money, the agencies providing the grants were looking over my shoulder. My grants were never questioned because they were well-managed. I am qualified to be the county’s banker.

“The current Trustee, Ed Shouse, has done a good job. Two previous Republican Trustees were charged with crimes. … My opponent was an employee of the Trustee’s office during part of the fraud.

“He told WBIR he had learned what not to do. He didn’t know it was illegal to pay phony employees?”

Justin Biggs

Republican candidate

Why should you be elected Trustee?

“The Office of Trustee has many functions, but none more important than collecting your tax dollars and investing these dollars wisely. The office plays a major role in maintaining and keeping your tax rate as low as possible. Our team chooses only the most qualified investors to ensure your tax dollars are safe and invested to maximize the return.

“Once elected, I plan to expand our delinquent tax team. I think it is important to hold larger tax sales, which equates to more tax dollars, back into the General Fund. I also will begin enlisting folks for seasonal positions. These jobs will be created during our busiest time for tax collections, from late September through July. This ensures that we don’t have down time and waste taxpayer dollars because of the slowdown in work during these times.

“ It will also enable my office to fund the additional headcount to hold the larger tax sales that creates more tax dollars into he general fund.

“I plan to make it easier to do business with my office with drive-through collection sites for your safety and convenience.

“I also will keep you informed during tax time (October-April) with a monthly newsletter highlighting the successes and key information on investments of your tax dollars.

“I also will create a quarterly ‘Toast with the Trustee.’ I will hold informal breakfast meetings in all quadrants of the County so you can meet with me and my staff for questions pertinent to the Office.”