Van Buren proposition: Eliminate tax receiver

While this is a big year for elections, don't forget to take a position on propositions.

A proposition facing Van Buren residents entails eliminating the tax receiver's position and rolling the position's responsibilities into the town clerk's office. Barb Johnson is the current receiver of taxes, who plans to retire in December of 2009, when her elected term expires.

"This actually came at (Johnson's) suggestion because she was vehement about keeping our tax collection local rather than having it all go to the county," said Councilor Pat Dickman.

Johnson said Onondaga County wants to change the town position of tax receiver to a county position. If this happens, the town would lose control of when the town taxes are paid in full and additional revenue from interest and any late payment fees, which would instead go to the county.

"The town will lose money because of what we take in with penalties and interest," she said.

By eliminating the position and combining the duties with the town clerk's office, residents would not only retain revenue currently received, but should also see increased tax savings. Johnson added that residents would lose the personal contact and convenience of paying town and school taxes locally.

"A lot of this job is serving the people," she said, adding that she is often asked tax-related questions by new homeowners, homeowners whose assessments have changed and others. "It's going to be hard, but it would be harder if we were a bigger town. I think we can make the transition readily."

"Make sure you notice [the propositions]. They are at the top of your ballot," Dickman said.

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