A debate on assessing led to a bitter election campaign in Crown Point this fall.
continued A debate on assessing led to a bitter election campaign in Crown Point this fall.
Kosmider and DuShane were both defeated in re-election bids following a controversial decision to eliminate the town’s elected three-member board of assessors in favor of a sole, appointed assessor. In July, the Crown Point town board voted 3-2 to eliminate the elected assessors, effective Dec. 31. Kosmider joined with trustees DuShane and Patnode in voting for the change. Trustees Mazurowski and Walters opposed it.
Supporters of a sole assessor claim the move will save the town about $18,000 a year, noting the change was recommended by the town budget reduction committee. Opponents feel the current assessors are doing a good job, that money can be saved in other areas of the budget and people have a right to elect assessors.
The Crown Point town board’s decision to eliminate the elected assessors divided the community. Some support the assessors, others support the decision and still others believe the issue should have gone to a public referendum.
Assessors Carl Ross, Stephen Mackay and Glen Porter railed against the move and organized supporters to defeat Kosmider and Dushane in their re-election bids. The assessors and their supporters backed Charles Harrington for supervisor along with Tara Peters and Mazurowski for town board.
The Interested Taxpayers of Crown Point formed to support the assessor decision and to back Kosmider and Dushane in their re-election efforts.
Signs went up criticizing the “gang of three” — Kosmider, DuShane and Patnode — who voted for the change. Other signs backed Kosmider and DuShane. Town board meetings became raucous. Letters to the editor were published. Each side placed newspaper ads. Discussions — sometimes fights — took place on streets.
Harrington said the election hinged on the assessor debate.
“This, in effect, was the referendum on the assessor decision,” Harrington said on Election Day. “It shows the dislike people had for the way the assessor issue was handled.
“Sometimes democracy is messy, but it works” he added. “We all had input in one way or another.”
Kosmider agreed the assessor issue was key to the election.