Ebersole re-appointment stalled in Evans
BY: Brian Campbell | January 09, 2013
A resolution to appoint current assessor Jeanne Ebersole to a new six-year term was tabled after it sparked backlash from the public at the Jan. 3 meeting of the Evans Town Board.
“I question why we have to rush into this appointment when it’s usually done sometime in the fall,” said resident Ed Schneider. “The assessor has been quite controversial and I ask that we table this appointment so that more residents have the chance to have their voices heard. Assessments done by the assessor should be uniform throughout the town, and I feel that our current assessor’s work has been anything but.”
Another resident, Ed Conroy, also voiced his concern over the proposed appointment.
“The town board gave less than a day’s notice for this, as it was posted on the town’s website only this morning,” Conroy said. “I hope that as the town goes through the review process of appointing a new assessor and that they’ll get someone who understands New York State property law and someone who understands simple definitions like waterfront property.”
Cheryl St. George offered a somewhat different opinion.
“My concern about considering the current assessor for another six-year term is because there’s the inner circle, and then there is the outer circle,” she said. “If you’re in the inner circle, you get favored treatment towards your assessments, and anyone not part of that circle has been not treated fairly. residents of this town are simply asking for fair assessments.”
The resolution to re-up the appointment of Ebersole was submitted by Cooper, who stands firmly behind her body of work as town assessor.
“Do I believe in what she’s done? Absolutely,” Cooper said. “She has come through probably the most difficult period in our assessment history where she had a long, messy tenure of assessments that were out of whack that she had to clean up, and naturally people are going to be upset. No one wants to see their assessments go up, but if you want to be fair and equitable, you have to do that – you have to make sure everyone is at 100 percent. We are on the right track, and I feel people are being assessed fairly. Over her time in office she has done a number of things I would stand behind. Look at our seniors, she looks out for them, and she also looks out for our veterans to make sure they get their exemptions and everything. She stepping into a tough situation and handled it with grace, and also got it done very well in my opinion.”
Cooper also took a moment to address the idea that an inner circle exists within the Town when it comes to assessments.
“My assessment went up 30 percent, so it’s not like I’m immune or anything. There is no inner circle or outer circle here in this Town, we are all subject to the same assessments.”
Cooper then spoke on the possibility of having Erie County take over the town’s assessing duties.
“There has been some talk about looking into the county taking over our assessor duties, but they are short-handed themselves,” he said. “And as I understand it they only have three full-time people in their office. So, for them to take over these duties, we have 10,000 units in this Town. We have other nuances that need to be addressed.”
Supervisor Keith Dash gave his explanation for voting to table the appointment.
“It’s because of finances,” he said. “She still has a job through September so we do not have to rush to judgment on this decision. I take exception that some people thought this was being done underhandedly, because it wasn’t – Councilman Cooper thought he was doing the right thing and I support him on that. I don’t support the resolution but I do support the process. As far as I’m concerned we shouldn’t have to feel like we’re in a big rush to go out shopping if you will when it comes to looking for a new assessor. I don’t think we can make an educated or informed vote without knowing what the costs are and if there is any way that we could possibly save costs.”
“As far as other options, yes, we have been exploring other avenues. I’ve contacted the county to see what they do as far as handling municipalities that don’t have an assessor, so we will see where that leads us. I’m not sure how it would work but I guarantee that no matter we decide to do, whether it be keep an assessor or go to the county or what have you, that the ‘I’s’ are dotted and the ‘T’s’ are crossed because there’s no way that we’ll sold short regardless of what we end up doing.”
The motion to table Ebersole’s appointment was passed by a 2-1 vote (Dash, Council Dennis Feldmann aye, Cooper nay).
In other news:
• The town entered into an agreement with the Town of Brant to provide dispatching services from Jan 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013 at a cost of $2,750.
• Nancy Furey was appointed as a part time clerk at $9.25 per hour.
• The town entered into an agreement with Allied Waste Services for 2013 at the rate of $155.16 per unit.