K’hook looks to county for assessment help

KINDERHOOK–The Town Board heard a presentation this week from Town Assessor Tom Griffen about sharing some of the assessor’s duties with the county.

Mr. Griffen said that he currently hires someone to gather data and perform other tasks, but the town could use services offered by the county for that work. He told the board at the Monday, December 8 regular meeting, that this would be “substituting one expert for another.” He assured the board that other towns in the state work this way, though Kinderhook would be the first in Columbia County.

Supervisor Pat Grattan, who is also the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said that it would cost the town about $29,000 to use the county to assist Mr. Griffen with data gathering. Both Mr. Grattan and Mr. Griffen said that the amount was within the 2015 budget for the Assessor’s Department adopted last month. And Mr. Grattan said that the town would see a small savings over time by using the county. He also mentioned that the state wants municipalities to show demonstrate that they participate in shared services as part of the property tax cap law. “It’s cooperative services,” he said of the plan.

“You are definitely going to save money working with the county,” said Mr. Griffen. He said that he hoped that the two villages in the town would also use the county to assist with assessments. “Continuity is a big issue too,” he said.

Mr. Grattan pointed out that Mr. Griffen is a contractor with the town and that he does not receive fulltime employee benefits. If the town had to hire a fulltime assessor, the costs for the service would increase.

Both men also said that the level of service to the public would not change, either. “The clerk will still be here,” Mr. Grattan said of the assessor’s office in the town hall. Mr. Griffen said he would still be the one who signs off on town assessments.

Mr. Grattan said the county board still has to approve the plan and that the Town Board would discuss it again in January.

Also at the meeting, Mr. Grattan announced that there is vacancy from the town on the Office for the Aging Advisory Council.

The next regular board meeting will be Monday, January 12 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building. The board set an end of the year meeting on December 30 at 7 p.m. to close out the 2014 budget year.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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