New hire sworn in

Carteret County’s new tax administrator, Sarah Davis, third from left, is sworn into office Monday at the County Board of Commissioners meeting at the administration building in Beaufort. (Dean-Paul Stephens photo)

BEAUFORT — After a weeks-long search, county officials formally welcomed Sarah Davis as the new tax administrator this week.

Ms. Davis will replace outgoing Tax Administrator Carl Tilghman, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Coming to Carteret County by way of Pamlico County, Ms. Davis is originally from Oriental. She started as Pamlico County’s head tax person in 2016.

She said, after hearing of Mr. Tilghman’s retirement, she wanted to try her hand at managing the taxes of a larger county.

“Mr. Tilghman announced his retirement and I knew that I wanted to do more but stay in eastern North Carolina,” Ms. Davis said. “I submitted an application back in the spring and I actually didn’t get interviewed until the end of July. I kind of was surprised by it when they called me for the interview.”

She said while her stint as Pamlico County’s tax administrator was short-lived, she is proud of the work she and her team accomplished.

“We have almost completed a revaluation that will be effective January 2020,” Ms. Davis said, adding that her team won a state award for their work digitizing records, as well. “Before that, they were climbing (a) ladder to pull 10-years worth of notebooks down. Now they can click a button on the computer and all 10 years will come up at once. We were recognized and won awards for that.”

Ms. Davis also emphasized her former department increased its collection rate by 2% during her tenure. Ms. Davis said she hopes to recreate some of her successes in Carteret County.

“I want to work on collection rates,” Ms. Davis said. “Something that I like to call a collection life cycle … I call it a collection life cycle, that’s a term I like to use. It puts (tax rates) in an annual cycle.”

Ms. Davis said the effects from Hurricane Florence last September will be one of the key things she and her team will have to tackle. Earlier in the year, county commissioners decided to postpone the scheduled revaluation at the suggestion of Mr. Tilghman.

At the time, Mr. Tilghman suggested the reval should occur after residents had time to repair storm-damaged properties.

Ms. Davis said this topic is one of the key things on her radar.

“I’m not concerned about it, I thought it was a good decision by the commissioners and the (tax) office to delay it a year,” Ms. Davis said. “But (revaluations are) one of the biggest things we do in taxes. It will be my No. 1 focus through the fall and into the first part of the year. I have a lot to get up to speed, to sit down with the real estate staff to find out where we are.”

Ms. Davis said she is looking forward to working with staff to modernize how taxes are handled in the county.

“I’m excited about new challenges, a larger area, a coastal area, so I’m going in with an open mind and a lot of energy behind me,” Ms. Davis.

She said she also hopes to open the tax office up to residents.

“We want to be good (representatives) for our county and our citizens. If they ever feel like that is not the case, the tax office has an open door policy and they are always welcome to come in and give us feedback and we are more than willing to work with them,” she said.

Ms. Davis’ first day is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3. Her pay as the county’s tax administrator is $90,000 annually.

Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.

(4) comments


$90K annually? In this county? And we wonder where the money goes. Oh no.

Core Sounder

How much does a Tax Administrator make?

The national average salary for a Tax Administrator is $45,933 in United States. Filter by location to see Tax Administrator salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 16 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Tax Administrator employees.


The previous administrator made 92,585$ with 14 years of experience. She made 54,624$ in Pamlico. Nice sizeable bump for Government sector in Eastern North Carolina. Especially since her husband is Sheriff in Pamlico County. Her maximum allowable salary in Pamlico would be $96,967, $6K less than what she is making as a starting salary now.

The question should be, if the hiring rate was $84,192, why did they pay her 6-7% over that hiring rate when its $30K more than she is currently making in Pamlico?


Congrats carteret county. Is ms. davis going to relocate to carteret county? If not why? Is it because hubby is sheriff in pamilco county? 90 thousand a year for a non resident. Sorta like Havelock and their city manager who does't even live in the city limits of Havenot. Ain't politics great! Maybe hubby can run against carteret county's sheriff!

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