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Every town would have full-time assessor if it really cost less

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing in response to recent letters to the editor from Mr. McLean and Mrs. Glines, who wrote about Alton voting to eliminate positions in their town. Mr. McLean and Mrs. Glines are both residents from other towns and are trying to tell Alton taxpayers how to spend their money.

First of all, although there isn't a law yet to have a full-time assessor, towns do have a constitutional mandate to do a values anew every five years. Experts in the field have stated to me that this would cost about $40,000 a year on average for part-time assessing, which comes with no lifetime retirement and benefits costs to the taxpayers. If it was really less cost to the taxpayers for full-time assessors and planners, every town would have them.

The numbers discussed at the Alton Deliberative Session never mentioned how much of the $1.2 million a year in insurance and retirement we will save, or all the savings from eliminating all the little "bennies" such as personal cell phones, vehicle mileage and who knows what else.

Now let's look at the cost of Alton's subcontracted assessing services from 2008 to 2012. The amount of $160,332 was spent on top of the town assessor's compensation.

The fact that Mr. McLean brought up "Tom's professionalism" and Mrs. Glines commented on "his willingness to work with others is priceless." Let me tell you how he treated this taxpayer. On November 19, 2010, at the town assessing office, I questioned Tom about a substantial increase in my property value and I was met with arrogance and hostile behavior. When meeting with a DRA official, who felt Tom was being punitive and made an error in what was the acceptable standards in changing the value of a property, Tom still showed prejudice to my interest. As a result of my complaint, the state had to step in and correct deficiencies in the assessing department at an added cost to the town. (Who knows how much it cost and what department it came from. This was a well kept secret from the taxpayers) Eventually, with no help from the selectmen, I received my abatement of $470.

That aside, it's like I said at the Deliberative Session, this is nothing personal, but we the signers of the petitioned article, are just trying to find ways to save our money for our families' needs, because the selectmen and Budget Committee refuse to.

Ray Howard