In Virginia, county and city treasurers are elected for four-year terms and serve as chiefs of taxation. Bryan W. Moeller and Deborah A. Rittenhouse are the two certified candidates running for the office of Treasurer of Fluvanna County.
Linda H. Lenherr has held the position since 1984 and announced in the summer that she will not run for a tenth term. Both Moeller and Rittenhouse would be new to the office.
Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire based on over 200 responses we received to a voter survey. Both candidates responded by email. Their answers are below.
Can you explain what the job of the treasurer is and why you are running?
Bryan Moeller: The treasurer has three jobs: Collect all revenue due to the county; disburse all funds and payments owed by the county; and manage the county’s financial assets. I am running because the county needs a treasurer that can contribute meaningfully to the changes that Fluvanna County will likely be undergoing over the next few years, and I have the experience, vision, and skills to ensure that our Treasurer’s Office can grow as the County grows in the future.
Deborah Rittenhouse: The job of the treasurer is to send out yearly tax bills and to collect and record all tax revenues and local fees. In addition, the treasurer is to represent the county in banking matters (reconciliation of accounts, paying bills, etc.), and to manage the investment of county funds. Over my career I have worked hard to develop the skill set and competency needed to serve the citizens of Fluvanna County as their treasurer, which is why I decided to run.
Treasurer is the only county-wide position that is contested this year. Why don’t you think more people run for these roles?
Moeller: All the constitutional officers are not like elected, legislative positions: These all have specific roles and duties that most people might not have an interest in pursuing. That does not make them any less important, however, and this uniqueness actually encourages me to pursue being elected to this position, as I am able to effect change that is more specific and targeted, and allows all constituents to equally reap the benefits.
Rittenhouse: The current treasurer in Fluvanna County has held this seat for 40 years. Her retirement at the end of this year is what has caused this to be an “open” seat for this election cycle. In the past, there have been challenges to some of the constitutional officer seats, but for the most part, if the constitutional officer does his or her job with dedication and commitment to what is best for the citizens, there are usually no challengers. In addition, it is not an easy thing to run for any office. The commitment of the time, energy and money needed for such an endeavor, is not for the faint of heart!
What are some of the improvements you would like to make in office?
Moeller: My list of desired improvements is pretty long, but can be summarized into three areas:
- Technology: Make it easier for people and businesses to pay the county (including your water bill), and make the jobs of multiple county staff more efficient.
- Training: Get all Treasury staff certifications long overdue to them, and train staff to be problem-solvers for all constituents that contact our office (they will also be trained to answer the phones by the third ring).
- Transparency: Get our constituents the information we can provide about the financial health of Fluvanna County.
- Updated technology: I would like to see a client portal where citizens can go online and pay their taxes using a credit card, debit card or by an ACH transaction. Now, the only way to pay is by check or cash, through mail or in person.
- Training of clerks: I would like to see all clerks achieve their certification, then work towards the office achieving accreditation status.
- Investments: I would like to review our investments to ensure the capital reserves are yielding appropriate rates.
Do you have any certifications or qualifications for this position that you want voters to know about?
Moeller: Unlike my opponent, who appears to actually be an office manager for an accounting firm outside of Fluvanna County since 2008, I have relevant, current experience for the position. I have been running Fluvanna County’s Children’s Services Act program since 2017, which requires me to perform multiple tasks that are also regularly performed by the treasurer. These include processing payments, managing multiple revenue streams, and solving difficult problems experienced by our residents, which are only a few of these overlapping tasks.
As a result of my efforts, my department and its teams have not only been able to serve 50% more youth annually compared to six years ago, but we have also done so in a way that has saved the County approximately $1.5 million over the past five years. It has also given me the opportunity to have successfully developed positive, collaborative relationships with almost all the directors and leaders in our current administration.
[Editor’s note: Rittenhouse says she was an office manager for a small Charlottesville-based accounting firm from 2008 to 2021. The firm confirmed she was an employee there in the past but could not comment further in time for publishing. Rittenhouse said that in a small firm, she did many jobs, including accounting work and “is a little offended that he would write off being an office manager.”]
Rittenhouse: I have worked for 20-plus years in the accounting field. I have done everything from bookkeeping, tax preparation, accounts receivable and payable, payroll, etc., to working with accountants, clients and staff. In addition, I served as my district’s representative on the Fluvanna County Planning Commission for over nine years, and for three of those years, I was the chairman. I worked with county staff, the county attorney, applicants and citizens. All this has given me a well-rounded perspective and understanding of finance and the workings of county government, which makes me the ideal candidate for this position.
More about the candidates for treasurer
- More about Moeller’s campaign finances, from the Virginia Public Access Project
- More about Rittenhouse’s campaign finances, from the Virginia Public Access Project
- A report in CBS19 about a candidate forum where both Moeller and Rittenhouse spoke
- A 2019 profile of Moeller as Fluvanna County’s Children Services Act coordinator
- A July report from the Fluvanna Review about outgoing Treasurer Linda H. Lenherr
As you get ready to vote, here are some key dates and links from the Virginia Department of Elections:
Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.
- Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
- Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
- Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
- Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
- Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
- Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.
Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.