This is in response to various questions posed by Mrs. Pardee in her letter to the editor in the Feb. 9 edition of the Star-Review. All of the questions asked are very good questions and deserved to be answered.
First, relative to the assessor, we all know that a qualified assessor is difficult to find, as the position was described as a "revolving door" not so long ago. Finding a qualified candidate held true this past year when the supervisor fired Mr. Brennan and found out that the applicant that topped her list of those that applied was not even a certified assessor by New York State. I believe we can all agree that in the town of Cicero, we need to have a certified assessor given the various challenges. Also, by consolidating offices with Salina, we share the cost of Mr. Brennan's salary and benefits and in turn have a qualified assessor who has over twenty years experience and has overseen re-assessment projects in the past. Unfortunately, when I proposed that Cicero make a ten year commitment to consolidating offices with Salina it was voted down by Supervisor Boyke. If such a measure was approved, Cicero would have received $80,000 this year from New York State as an incentive to consolidate the two offices.
Second, my press conference message was especially clear: to notify taxpayers that the original assessment plan had been modified by the current administration while still approving $400,000 for the assessment project. In turn, the final results of the project were jeopardized. The original plan was straightforward, which would be to consolidate offices, maintain Mr. Brennan as project manager, properly staff the office, and take recommendations from the NY State Office of Real Property Services.
Third, the cell phone tower property which was owned by the town was sold due to outstanding liability reasons. By owning this property on which a cell phone tower was constructed there is a great deal of risk and liability for the town, so a decision was made to sell the property.