Dec 31, 2007 Anne Roth Uncategorized
2008 welcomes new assessors to the towns of Skaneateles and Spafford. After lengthy meetings of committees appointed by Supervisor Phil Tierney of Skaneateles and Supervisor Webb Stevens of Spafford, each search was narrowed to two and finally one was selected.
Ron Miller took the helm in Skaneateles January 1, the town’s first full time appointed assessor. “He has been in and out for the last month working with Bob Brown and Lore Milne before they go out of office to get a feel for the town and of important issues,” Tierney said. “They have given him tips on what to look for; it was an orientation into responsibilities so he has a sense of what is important here.”
The supervisor wants to avoid a repeat of the 2005 re-evaluation when some taxes jumped excessively. “We’ll be doing more frequent assessments. He is going to be part of a six-year program we are signing up with the Office of Real Property Services, a state agency with a regional office in Syracuse,” Tierney said.
Miller will be the only assessor for the Town of Skaneateles; his annual salary is $50,000.
What does he bring to the position? Tierney said, “He has great life experience. We felt he had the right personality and knowledge to deal with the people and issues here.”
Miller and his wife, Nancy, live in Otter Lake where he has been working for the past five years as assessor and code enforcement officer for the Town of Inlet. He is renting in Skaneateles and after their house in the Adirondacks sells will be purchasing one in this area, he said.
Previously he was director of real estate for the Dial Corporation for 20 years in Phoenix, Arizona; before that he was associated with Bosch & Lomb in Rochester.
“My background has been in corporate real estate doing market values and appraising. We handled all of the corporate real estate for Bosch & Lomb in Rochester before Dial,” Miller said.
He is aware of the major increase in taxes in 2005. “All I can do is create a fair and equitable roll so that you are not being assessed any more than anyone else with a similar property. I can’t control what people are paying — that is market driven but I will be doing the best job I can for the property owners,” Miller said.
The Millers have two sons. Kevin who has a business in Boonville and Brian, an Army officer who recently left Iraq and is now stationed in Germany. The couple has three grandchildren.
Kim Stone-Gridley of Union Springs is the new assessor for Spafford. “She is accredited, up to date, well versed on the computer software we have for the town and began to work with Bob Brown in December so that she could be filled in on certain things that are going on and are in process,” Supervisor Stevens said. Brown, who has been assessor for both towns, ended his tenure December 31.
Stone-Gridley is already becoming acquainted with Spafford, driving about with a map. Larry Fitts will be doing the re-evaluation Stevens said, “He is well on his way into it. After he is done she will keep the assessments up to where they should be, between 90 and 100 percent of assessed evaluation. Now we are down to 63 percent equalization rate. It is quite a large deficit. Everybody should pay their fair share. She assured us she can do this.
“If there is a real problem she is willing to go the extra mile to get a solution to it. One-third will go up, one-third will go down, one-third will be the same. That is the way it has gone in other towns. The preliminaries should be done by March, the finals by May.”
Stone-Gridley works part time, earning $24,000 a year.
Spafford also has a new zoning officer – Kim Fairchild of Homer. He is a certified New York State Code Enforcement officer and a retired firefighter for Cortland. Fairchild replaces Doug Staley who has been zoning officer for the town for several years. Fairchild is part time also, earning $12,000 a year.
He is also the part time zoning officer for the Town of Scott. “This is the only other town he has,” Stevens said. “He is well acquainted with the lake and farm community and residential so we thought he would work in just great.”
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