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No assessor proposition in Essex

After a pair of public hearings in the month of August on whether or not to propose a referendum in changing the way the assessors office is staffed in Essex, the matter will not be going to a public vote this year.

After a pair of public hearings in the month of August on whether or not to propose a referendum in changing the way the assessors office is staffed in Essex, the matter will not be going to a public vote this year. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— After a pair of heated meetings in the town of Essex, the fate of how assessments are performed in the municipality will not be determined by a vote, for now.

Supervisor Sharon Boisen said there would be no referendum on the Nov. 5 general election ballot asking voters to choose between the current three-member assessment board comprised of elected officials or consolidating the department into a sole, appointed position.

“There has been no further discussion by the town board; therefore, it will not be on the ballot this year,” Boisen said.

The town board hosted meetings on Aug. 6 and Aug. 8, with the goal of hearing if people wanted the measure to go before the voters as a referendum. At the time, Boisen said the town board would not make any decision on the assessor department without the consent of the town’s voters.

“We do not want to make this decision on our own, and we want to know if people want this to be put on the ballot,” Boisen said at the Aug. 8 meeting. “We wanted to put this issue out to the public and see what they would want to do. The board agreed that no matter what their opinion was, they would go with what the majority of the town said.”

At both meetings, the tone became heated, with harsh words being exchanged between people supporting the current assessors and those seeking a change, with Boisen consistently having to call for order and seek to bring people back on topic.

“The focus was on the position and if the way it was constituted should change,” Boisen said. “It was not on the people, and we thought that we had made that clear.”

The current elected board of assessors in Essex includes Diane Lansing, David Sayre and Patricia Gardner.

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