VB approves shared assessor, Lysander waits

Van Buren officials have approved an agreement that will share the town's assessor, Theresa Golden, with the town of Lysander. Board members voted unanimously for the agreement pending review and approval of Van Buren attorney Jim Stokes (Councilor Ronald Dudzinski was absent from the board meeting).

The town of Lysander has yet to approve the new agreement, but has appointed Golden as part-time help in the Lysander Assessor's Office, which is currently headed by Julie Nicolini, Lysander's acting assessor. Golden will receive an hourly rate of $23 per hour with no benefits and will work no more than 20 hours per week in Lysander.

"This is more or less a consulting arrangement," said Lysander Councilor Brian May. "It's temporary while we evaluate our options."

May added that there were no problems in the assessor's office.

Lysander is waiting for feedback on the proposed shared services agreement from the town attorney, David Twichell, who had been tied up in trial.

"We are in the process of seriously considering a shared services agreement with Van Buren," said Supervisor Barry Bullis.

The proposed agreement comes in the wake of the Coordinated Assessment Program that Van Buren officials recently voted down in a four against two vote (Councilor Arie Scholten was absent during the vote).

When Lysander Assessor Don Long left in August, Lysander officials began to explore their options to replace him. The New York State Office of Real Property Services gave the board a presentation about CAP and other shared assessor programs, which are designed to save municipalities money (by sharing a head assessor) and maximize the services of a highly qualified assessor, who ORPS officials said are declining in numbers. Had the two towns agreed to enter into a CAP, each town would have received a maximum $7 per parcel as an incentive from ORPS. With 8,827 parcels in Lysander and 5,409 parcels in Van Buren, the towns could have received a one-time payment of $61,789 and $37,863 respectively. However, if either town opted out of the program within 10 years of entering the CAP, each town would have to repay a portion of the incentive money to ORPS, the portion directly depending upon how many years the CAP existed.

Even though the town of Lysander had approved the CAP agreement at the Nov. 19 board meeting in a three-to-two vote, Van Buren officials wanted a trial run of the program through the shared services agreement before committing to the CAP.

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