By Tia Lynn Ivey
After nearly 19 years as Morgan County Tax Commissioner, Becky Astin last Friday announced that she would not seek a sixth term in office.
Astin, 63, said she has personal family matters, including a new 1-year-old granddaughter, that needs her attention. “I’ve got responsibilities with my family that I need to take care of,” she said.
Astin first worked in the Morgan County Tax Commissioners office as a part-time worker in 1984 for then Morgan County Tax Commissioner Katherine Cathey. After various jobs, she successfully ran for the office as a Democrat in 2001. In 2015 she ran successfully as a Republican for the job.
Since her 2001 election, she said, she has witnessed digest collections rise from $12.7 million on 2001 to $24.4 million in 2019. In 2001, she said, Morgan County’s census recorded 12,388 residents. In 2017 that census rose to 17,881 census and, Astin said, is on track to be greater than 20,000 residents after the current census.
Car titles averaged 236 per month in 2001 and 300 per month in 2019. Astin has been an active member of the community and a member of First United Methodist Church.
“I have mixed emotions about leaving because I like what I’m doing,” she said. The demands of family, however, including spending time with granddaughter Raelan Anne Watson, helped her make the decision.
Astin said she is proud of an office that generates millions in revenue for Morgan County and hopes that more resources will be considered for the office. “This office has only three full-time employees up front when I was elected in 2001 and it still only has three employees.” She said the workload has grown proportionately with Morgan County’s population. “I think this office is ready for another full-time employee,” she said.