‘E pluribus unum’ as Chatham appoints assessor

CHATHAM — The Town Board appointed Dan Horst to the position of sole assessor at the regular meeting Thursday, November 17. Mr. Horst, who is currently one of three assessors for the town, will assume his new post in January.

The board also agreed last week to make Pond View County Kennel in East Nassau another site to take lost and runaway dogs found in the town.

Several months ago the board voted board voted to change from the current system that relies on a panel of three assessors and move instead to having one appointed assessor.  According the 2012 town budget, which the board adopted after a public hearing Saturday November 19, the sole assessor will cost the town the $2,000 less than having three assessors. The town has budgeted $33,250  for the assessor in the upcoming budget; the 2011 amended budget shows assessor expenses as $35,205.

Mr. DeGroodt said the board interviewed candidates for the assessor position and choose Mr. Horst. “We look forward to you doing a fanatic job,” Mr. DeGroodt told Mr. Horst at the November 17 meeting.

On the issue of kennels, Columbia Greene Human Society will continue to receive dogs picked up in Chatham, but dogs found in those areas of the town nearer the Rensselaer County border will now be taken to East Nassau by the Chatham Animal Control Officer.

Town Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said he would put information online so town residents know where to find their dogs. Board member elect Bob Balcom, who sat in the audience at the meeting, said it was important for people to know and for the town to have records of which dogs are licensed.

Also at the meeting, Mr. DeGroodt suggested naming the Town Hall after board member Tom Meyn, a who died last month. Mr. DeGroodt said that Mr. Meyn was very active in obtaining the building the town now occupies on Route 295 and that he deserved the honor.

Board members plan to do research into ways to have his name on the building and will discuss it again in December.

The board also tabled filling an open seat on the Zoning Implementation Committee. They have a vacant seat and no candidates, Mr. DeGroodt said. He told the board they would advertise for new members next month.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

Chatham adopts ‘flat’ budget for 2012

CHATHAM — The Town Board adopted a $2.9 million townwide budget for 2012 at a special meeting Saturday, November 19. The total amount of spending for the next year is set at $3.3 million when special districts are included. The amount to be raised by taxes is $1.8 million.

A copy of the 2012 budget shows the town used $550,000 from unexpended balance in the current year to reduce the tax levy. General Fund spending will rise about $20,000 next year, while projected revenues are flat. At a meeting two days before the budget was adopted Mr. DeGroodt called the overall 2012 budget flat compared to the current year. Bob Balcom, who will return to the board in January agreed in an email about the budget that the increase is a less than 1% increase. That’s well below the 2% property tax cap set by the state.

Town Clerk Beth Anne Rippel said that Mr. Balcom and another member of the public attended the November 19 budget hearing. Mr. Balcom said in his email that he thought the flat rate was achieved through attrition of one Highway Department employee. “My concern is if other expenses are being kicked down the road then they will require a large budget increase and corresponding tax increase,” he wrote.

Mr. Balcom has asked to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Tom Meyn until the end of the year, but the board has not acted on that request.

Town officials said the complete budget would be posted on the Town’s website at chathamnewyork.us, although it was not available by Tuesday, November 22.

The next meeting will be Thursday December 15 at 7pm in the Town Hall. – Emilia Teasdale

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