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Pair of towns seek county assessors

Westport Supervisor Dan Connell and Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley have been discussing their options as the three towns have been working together as a sole assessing municipality.

Westport Supervisor Dan Connell and Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley have been discussing their options as the three towns have been working together as a sole assessing municipality. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Supervisors Dan Connell of Westport and Margaret Bartley of Elizabethtown are ready again to talk about hiring the county for their towns’ assessor services.

In May, Connell presented a resolution to the board that would have authorized a contract between the county and the towns of Westport, Elizabethtown and Willsboro for assessor services. After some debate, the resolution was tabled.

Connell came back to the table with a new version of the proposal during the Sept. 15 finance committee meeting, with only two of the original three towns — Westport and Elizabethtown — seeking to contract with Essex County.

“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.”

Connell said the plan would require a member of the Real Property Office that is also certified by the state as an assessor to work one day a week in each of the town offices throughout the year trial. A part-time employee would be hired by the county to fill in when the assessor was away from the county offices.

Financially, the county would 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.

“We are asking the board to give us an opportunity to try this,” Connell said. “Real property tax would be hiring a part-time person at 19 hours a week. They would be told up front that this is a one-year, part-time position. It gives our two towns an opportunity for a year to look at other options as well.”

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