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Elizabethtown searches for solution to assessor shortage

ELIZABETHTOWN At a special meeting of the Elizabethtown Town Board on Sept. 17, board members voted to go forward with plans to hire a sole assessor with the towns of Willsboro and Westport.

Town Assessor Michael Parker has informed the board of his intention to stop serving after this year, leaving the town board to search for a solution. Elizabethtown went to a sole assessor system last year.

I feel strongly that an assessor would bid on three towns collectively, said Supervisor Noel Merrihew. It's in our best interest we can assure a professional a full-time job, and that is his only full-time job.

By joining with Westport and Willsboro, the town would receive a one-time payment of $17 per land parcel from the state. Currently the town receives $5 per parcel as an incentive to do annual reassessments.

All towns would retain independent boards of assessment review.

Councilmen Joseph Martin and Philip Hutchins were cautious about proceeding with the plan, stating that they saw it as a first step.

I'm not against looking into it. Am I hiring someone tonight, no. Am I will to look into it, sure, said Martin.

The board voted unanimously to proceed. Councilman Michael McGinn was absent. Officials from all three towns will hold joint interviews on Sept. 27.

The board also approved a $104,000 bid for sidewalk repair from Luck Brothers in Plattsburgh. A second bid of $146,000 was received from Steve Fuller, Inc.

Merrihew stated that the board planned to negotiate with the company to scale the project down to about $60,000.

We have a budget of what we have in reserve for the sidewalk district, and I'd hope we'd be able to downsize a little bit, and address the pieces of sidewalk there in most need, said Councilman Kenneth Fenimore.

The project would replace sidewalks near the Water Street Bridge and post office, along Footbridge Lane and on Cross Street. Construction was slated to start earlier this week.

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