Towns to pool efforts to finish tax rolls

Officials in six towns have agreed to cooperate to complete work on tentative tax rolls by the May 1
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Officials in six towns have agreed to cooperate to complete work on tentative tax rolls by the May 1 deadline following last week’s death of assessor Richard Barbic, county Real Property Tax Services Director Marjorie Troidl said Thursday.

Officials from Carlisle, Esperance, Schoharie, Seward, Sharon and Wright met this week and agreed to arrange for four assessors in neighboring communities to finish up whatever work is needed until permanent assessors are hired.

“The effect to the people in these towns will be minimal,” Troidl said.

But to help allay concerns, she said, the county is planning to post the rolls after May 1 on the county’s Web site “for the people who are worried, so they could check them.”

After routine periods for people to challenge any assessments, the final rolls are due to be completed by July 1.

Barbic, 57, died March 11 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a field near his Seward home. His death was ruled a suicide by county Coroner Matthew Coltrain.

Barbic’s records were largely up to date and in “pretty good shape,” said Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer III, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. But work remains to be done, according to Troidl.

“Rich had been updating exemptions,” she said, but “his rolls were not completed.”

In addition to some information to follow up on exemptions for such applications as the school tax STAR exemptions, veterans,’ agricultural land and the like, Troidl said recent property sales and deed transfers may still have to be added.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Troidl said the consensus was to take up the offers by four assessors from other towns to fill in until permanent assessors are appointed in the six towns that Barbic had handled.

Cobleskill Assessor Alan Danforth and Summit Assessor Judy Sirena plan to work on the rolls for Carlisle, Seward and Sharon.

Broome Assessor Robert Breglio and Conesville-Jefferson Assessor Mark Los will handle the rolls for Esperance, Schoharie and Wright. Over the next two weeks, town boards in all the affected towns are expected to meet to formally hire the interim assessors.

Temporary salaries will likely vary among the towns, depending on the size of the rolls and other factors, according to Troidl.

Starting in the mid-1990s, the two groupings of towns had already begun forming coordinated assessment program units, she said.

That program, referred to as CAPs, aims to promote more efficient use of resources and staff.

County Attorney Michael West has also been consulted on the interim plan for the six towns, she said.

“This is the plan and none of us see any reason why it won’t work,” Troidl said.

County staff will also assist, as needed, “to help us get by in the interim,” said Van Wormer.

Barbic, an experienced assessor, was first appointed Seward’s assessor in January 1984, and became fully certified after completing extensive state-required training in November 1985, according to Troidl.

Also on Thursday, Troidl said she received notice from the state Office of Real Property Services that the county’s February application for a $25,000 grant to study consolidating assessing and tax collection services countywide was approved.

The March 18 letter also approved an additional $25,000 if the study is completed by Oct. 1, she said.

The total of $50,000 will be provided even if the county decides not to change the system after the study is completed, according to Troidl.

An alternative to a full countywide assessment system is forming more coordinated assessment program units. Troidl last month expressed concern that shifting to a full countywide assessing method could be too costly to conduct property revaluations in all 16 towns.

The county Board of Supervisors agreed at its Feb. 15 session to pursue the study, but did not commit to making any changes.

Troidl said Thursday she expects to soon seek requests for proposals from appropriate consultants to conduct the study.

Categories: Schenectady County

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