CHAZY — Leo Oliver was a man ahead of his time.
There were no computers in use by the Town of Chazy when he took office as town clerk/tax collector in 1990, but he had one at home and used it to type up the minutes he would take at Town Council meetings.
Oliver was named budget officer by then-Town Supervisor George Deno, so for the first spending plan he had to craft, he relied on the previous budget as a guide.
“At that time, I had Lotus 1-2-3 on my own computer, (so) I created my own program for creating the budget,” he said.
Twenty-four years later, software for both town-clerk and tax-collection duties streamlines the work, and it’s just part of the daily routine.
The firm that provides it, Business Automation Services, “is great to work with” should any issues arise, Oliver said.
In fact, technicians can access the system remotely to check out problems.
“I would never have imagined that back then at all,” he said, remembering the dark days of technology at the Town Hall.
With 24 years in office, Oliver will retire as his term ends on Dec. 31.
Phil Beauharnois will take over as clerk/tax collector with the new year; Mark Henry will be town supervisor, both new to the posts.
That’s very much how it was when Oliver and Deno took office in 1990 — they were both newcomers who learned the work as it unfolded before them.
For Oliver, it more blanketed him, with tax payments flooding in that very month.
“Thanks to my wife (Susan) helping me, I was able to get through that.”
Tax payments, along with those for dog, hunting and fishing, and marriage licenses, were recorded manually.
The tax-collection software the town installed “was a great thing,” he said.