State Wants To Streamline Assessments; Some Towns Like It The Way It Is
Published: March 27th, 2008
By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – Town of German Supervisor Richard Schlag has seen the writing on the wall for some time now: The state’s push for municipalities to switch from an elected board of assessors to just one assessor.

And it isn’t necessarily what small towns like German want, he said.

An assessor himself back in the 1980s and 90s, Schlag said he has watched as the New York State Office of Real Property Services has piled on more and more expensive training and licensing requirements for the traditionally low-paying job. Assessors earn $250 per year or $500 after they take their first of seven weeks worth of training classes. Some of the added requirements today include industrial and commercial property assessment courses.

“Change has been a long time coming. The state wants every assessor to be trained at a level to go out anywhere and be hired,” Schlag said. “We keep having to pay more and more money. That’s very hard for us at town-level salaries as they still exist in a place like German.”

Joe Hesch, a spokesman for the New York State Office of Real Property Services, said his office has been in support of having a single appointed assessor for some time. Each municipality can have their own or they can share assessors to defray the cost, he said.

“Our agency has been of the opinion for a long time that it’s better to have a professional full-time assessor than a part-time board for the primary reason that it’s all they do, full time,” he said. The job would come with a continuing education requirement to maintain certification.

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