GUILFORD – In a resolution adopted Wednesday night following a heated public debate, the Town of Guilford abolished its board of elected assessors in favor of appointing a single person to that position.
There was a great deal of hostility at Wednesday’s meeting as town residents took the opportunity to express their opinion about the proposed town law, which would replace the municipality’s current board of three elected assessors with a sole, appointed assessor.
According to Councilman Bruce Winsor, the town started researching the option after the unexpected resignation of an assessor at the end of July. The position has yet to be filled. “We’re having a problem in this township,” said Winsor. “In the last twelve years, we have only twice had three people on the board.” This does not include someone who was elected to the position, but resigned before ever taking the oath of office.
“The system is not working right now,” Winsor added, citing the town’s equalization rate of 56.5 percent.
Bias and inaccuracies common under the current system were echoed by several residents, including Lianne Sprague, who sits on the Board of Assessors Review Board. She reported an occasion where she “subbed” on grievance day. “There were a lot of discrepancies,” said Sprague. “Even the square footage on some of the houses wasn’t right.”