K’hook hands off assessments to county… for now

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board has approved a contract to have the county Real Property Tax Service Agency take over the assessment services in the town. The board made the decision at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening, July 13.

The town’s assessor, Tom Griffen, retired recently after working under a contract with the town for several years. At this week’s board meeting the board hired his clerk, Cathy Knott, to continue working in the assessor’s office Mondays to Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon during the summer for $20 an hour.

Last February the board signed a contract with the county to use the property tax agency for data gathering and property modeling services. Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said at Monday night’s meeting the county was charging the town $5 a parcel for the first six months and then $7 after that. That contract will continue at about $28,000 a year. This new agreement the board approved at the meeting would add runs from July 1 to until September 1 and will include more services that Mr. Griffen handled before his retirement. The cost will stay the same.

Mr. Grattan stressed that there would still be someone in the assessor’s office at the town municipal building in Valatie to answer property assessment questions.

Ms. Knott’s contract was only approved through September 1 as well. She had worked for Mr. Griffen a few months before his retirement. Under her hourly rate she will not receive benefits from the town.

Mr. Grattan told the July 13 meeting that in terms of replacing the assessor, “We’re taking very small steps.”

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the agreement with the town at its meeting July 8.

Also at the Town Board meeting:

  • The board gave the Kinderhook Democrats permission to hold the party’s caucus in the Town Hall meeting room Saturday, July 25 at 10 a.m.
  • Resident Matthew Nelson asked about the allocation of parkland funds from the sale of the former Town Hall in Niverville. The state legislature approved the request from the town to sell the park with the building though there was nothing in the legislation that said how much of the money from the sale should go toward upkeep of the other parks in the town. But some funding may be required under the state’s Parkland Alienation laws.

Mr. Grattan said the town will get separate appraisals on the former town hall building and the parkland adjacent to it. Money from the sale of the building will go into to a fund to be used for projects on the new Town Hall in Valatie. “We’re not going to go spend this money,” Mr. Grattan said of the sale, which, according to him, will not happen this month.

  • Mr. Grattan asked Ed Simonsen, the town’s representative on the county’s Environmental Management Council, to draft a climate change resolution for the board to consider. Similar measures adopted by Hillsdale and other towns acknowledge climate change as in issue. Councilman Paul Votz said that he had looked at the Climate Smart Community website, a program to help municipalities find green energy and had asked for updates.

The next Town Board meeting is Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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