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Foster wins award

By Beth Foley

Staff Writer


It was one of those “I didn’t see it coming” moments, but Monica Foster appreciates that it happened.

Foster, the Jackson County Tax Assessor-Collector, was attending the 41st annual V.G. Young School for County Tax Assessor-Collectors in Waco last November, and was stunned to hear her name called as the 2023 Carl Smith Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year during a luncheon on the final day.

“I almost cried,” Foster said when talking about the award luncheon recently. “I didn’t think it was going to be me. There were three others nominated out of 254 counties and 16 regions. The other three were so much more involved in the association and everything.”

The Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year Award is presented each year at the Tax Assessors-Collectors Association’s annual V.G. Young School for County Tax Assessor-Collectors. According to information provided by the TACA, the award recognizes and honors a county tax assessor-collector who displays outstanding professionalism, conducts county business with high ethical standards and continues his or her education to improve the operations of the tax office. The nominations are submitted by other tax assessor-collectors from the same region of the state.

When her co-workers in the county tax office learned of her nomination prior to the November conference, they went to work collecting letters of support from people who knew Foster well that were forwarded to TACA.

“I had over 30 letters written that I refused to read until afterward, because I really didn’t think I was going to get it,” Foster said. “But they called my name. 

“I was not ready. I had no speech, I had nothing,” she explained, laughing at the memory. “But I was honored, very honored.”

Foster credits her co-workers for any personal success. Amanda Rodriguez is Chief Deputy Tax Assessor-Collector, Lupe Lopez is voter registrar deputy, Deanna Panza works with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Bishene Bubela handles Texas Parks and Wildlife and tax suits, and Margaret Wright serves as tax certificate and mail deputy.

“I’ve got a great team,” Foster said. “Though each has their desk duties, we are all cross trained and everyone pitches in when someone is out or when we are in overload days, which are quite often. That is why I say we are a team. A leader is no better than anyone else, they just have different responsibilities.”

She also has had a superb group of mentors from the time she first took office in 2017.

“I was very fortunate to be there with the seasoned ones,” Foster said, referring to experienced tax assessors-collectors such as Donna Atzenhoffer, whom she replaced. “Our region was super. You have to pass that knowledge on and I’m so thankful that they all did. It’s a lot.”

Jackson County Judge Jill Sklar said the quality of service offered to county residents is invaluable.

“Mrs. Foster’s office handles a variety of services for the constituents of Jackson County, and she wears many hats on any given day,” Sklar said. “Whether it is the collection of property taxes, voter registration, or helping those register vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles or Texas Parks and Wildlife, she always goes out of her way to ensure that the customer understands the process. She is knowledgeable on many issues and is often a great resource to Jackson County residents who are looking for solutions to complicated problems.  

“Mrs. Foster is valued by her peers throughout the state for her understanding of her office and is often looked to for direction on how changes in laws will impact local government and more importantly the local taxpayer. She does all this while also giving back to her community in a variety of ways. Mrs. Foster’s 2023 Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year award is much deserved.”

On a statewide level, Foster serves on the TACA Board of Directors, as a vice chairman of the Legislative Committee and of the Regional Coordinating Committee, and as a member of the Program Committee and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Liaison Committee.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957