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County finalizes assessor plan for Etown, Westport

Essex County Board of Supervisors

Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— David Wainwright will now be in charge of the assessments for the towns of Elizabethtown and Westport.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors officially approved a request from the two towns during its monthly meeting Oct. 7 to contract with Wainwright, a county employee in the Real Property Services Department, to serve as the sole assessor for the municipalities on a one-year trial run.

Supervisors Margaret Bartley of Elizabethtown and Dan Connell of Westport asked the county to approve the measure because they did not feel the people who had applied for the position of sole assessor for the Certified Assessment Program between the two towns and a third, Willsboro, were what they wanted.

“We had people from all over the state apply,” Connell said in committee. “When we did reference checks and looked at the application, we were not satisfied with the pool that we were presented with.”

Financially, the county will receive roughly $15,600 in revenue, Connell said, along with the potential for additional funding from the state. Each town would also see a benefit as they would save roughly $3,500 under the proposed system.

“Westport and Elizabethtown would enter into a contract for assessing services with Essex County for one year,” Connell said. “We would pay at a rate of $14 per parcel for the year, and the whole program would be evaluated at the end of the year.”

Bartley said towns contracting with their home county for assessing services is something that is happening throughout the state.

“The Herkimer County Real Property Office is assessing for six towns and is picking up a seventh next year,” she said. “Schuyler County is doing the assessment services for the entire county. It is something that is changing because it is becoming too difficult at the small-town level to find people to do the job.”

Willsboro Supervisor Ed Hatch voted against the resolution. At the Ways and Means Committee meeting Sept. 30, Hatch argued that his town had not left the CAP, but wanted to stay with current CAP assessor David Galarneau.

Hatch said with the other two CAP towns hiring a county employee as an assessor for a one year trial, Willsboro would move forward with hiring Galarneau as their sole assessor.

Connell and Bartley said their new assessor, Wainwright, would start his new post in their offices next week, with dates and hours yet to be set.

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