October 3, 2013

Last-minute challenge made to county assessing

ELIZABETHTOWN — One supervisor’s opposition threatened to derail implementation of the proposed Consolidated Assessing Program for Westport and Elizabethtown.

Whether the Town of Willsboro withdrew or was kicked out of the program was debated as the Essex County Board of Supervisors Ways and Means Committee prepared to vote Monday on having the County Real Property Tax Office take over assessing for Westport and Elizabethtown.

The resolution passed, 16 to 1, with only Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) opposed. Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) had been excused.

The final vote will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 7, in the Old County Courthouse at Elizabethtown.


If the measure is successful, Elizabethtown and Westport will become the first towns in Essex County to have the county do their property assessing.

The one-year test project would start this month, and the two towns agreed to pay the county $14 a parcel for assessing services, which would total about $41,000 a year.

The county must hire a part-timer to do tax mapping for $18,250 and pay $6,200 more in salary to promote a tax mapper in the County Real Property Tax Office to assessor.

The part-time tax mapper would be needed so a state-certified assessor employed by the county could spend a day in each town instead of on tax-map duties.


Hatch argued that the state had billed Willsboro for $5,900 for withdrawing from the Consolidated Assessing Program that the three towns had been in, and he felt they should not have to pay it.

He said Willsboro wanted to stay in the Consolidated Assessing Program but use its appointed sole assessor, David Galarneau, instead of the county.

“We were satisfied with the appraiser. The assessor (Galarneau) has done a good job for us.”

Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) said Willsboro had received state aid for assessing as part of the Consolidated Assessing Program, known as CAP.

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