I am pleased that the New York State Comptroller and I agree that there are too many
property assessors in the state.
Last week Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report that noted New York has more than 1,350 assessor positions, while many other states have an average of 100 assessors or less.
The report also noted that there are only seven states with more than 500 assessing units and sadly, New York is one of them. The full report can be found at osc.state.ny.us in the May 2011 Local Government Snapshot.
Comptroller DiNapoli stated that when it comes to assessors, New York is "ripe for sharing."
I cannot agree more.
It is reassuring to know that Cicero was on the forefront and a leader in 2009 when we entered into an agreement to share an assessor with the town of Salina. The agreement, which thankfully is still in place, calls for Cicero and Salina to employ one common assessor and share the cost of salary and benefits.
The cost savings are significant and both towns are able to keep an experienced and well-qualified assessor to monitor and maintain the property rolls in both towns. The agreement also opened the door for both towns to receive literally tens of thousands of dollars in much needed state aid.
That is why I vigorously and successfully fought to save the agreement when the current town administration attempted to terminate it last fall.
Earlier this year I proposed committing Cicero to a long-term, ten-year agreement that would have provided an additional $80,000 in state aid. Although this proposal failed to get the current majority of the board's support, we must continue to pursue this.
Going forward, the town of Cicero and other municipalities must look to these shared service agreements and consider all efforts to save our taxpayer dollars.
Simply put, local governments can no longer afford the luxury of waste and redundancies.