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Dougherty tax director to step down Dec. 31

Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten, the only appointed tax director in the state, will retire from her position Dec. 31 after almost 20 years on the job.

Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten, the only appointed tax director in the state, will retire from her position Dec. 31 after almost 20 years on the job.

ALBANY — Longtime Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten confirmed Monday that she will retire at the end of the year after almost 20 years in her position.

Hooten, who recently completed the implementation of her 20th tax digest as the state’s only appointed tax director, said she felt the time had come for her to step down from the position.

“There are a lot of things I want to do, and since my husband has already retired, I thought I’d join him while I’m still able to do them,” Hooten said. “There are so many things I’m proud to have been a part of during my time with the county, but this thing just keeps rolling. It’s time for someone else to step in and do the job.”

Hooten said the complete countywide tax revaluation of 2007 is among the most memorable events from her tenure in office.

“We do (a revaluation) every five years, but that was the first time we’d done a complete overhaul since 1963,” she said. “It definitely had a wide impact; it’s still impacting people today.”

Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis said Hooten’s knowledge and experience will be hard to replace, but he said a search will begin immediately.

“We really hope we can have someone in place by December before Denver leaves,” Crowdis said. “Our search will be an open process. I don’t know if anyone in-house has the credentials that the position requires, but we’ll open our search in-house and also advertise locally and with other appropriate organizations.

“We hope to have a very qualified candidate pool because this is such a unique and important position. With Denver’s expertise and credentials, she’ll be hard to replace.”

Hooten said there’s never a good time to leave a position like hers, but she tried to pick the best time for the county.

“It’s never-ending in this office,” she said. “But we just finished the tax digest and we’ve gotten the tax bills ready, so now seemed like as good a time as any. Work will start on the new digest in April, so it will be good to have someone in place who’ll have some time to familiarize themselves with the process.”

Crowdis said the county plans to continue to appoint its tax director.

“We’re probably the envy of county managers and administrators associations across the state,” he said. “Everyone wants to know how we managed to (have an appointed rather than elected tax director). That’s something that’s been beneficial to the county.”

Hooten’s last day in office will be Dec. 31.