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Special meeting sets North Collins town assessor's salary

NORTH COLLINS — The North Collins Town Board met for a special session on Jan. 18, to set the salary for the town assessor.

While the board named Jeanie Ebersole to that post, during its organizational meeting, it held off affixing a price tag on the service, leaving it for the February meeting. It later announced that the delay had made it impossible to pay Ebersole, as the new year began.

The board agreed to a salary of $22,500, an amount that the budget had reserved for contractual assessment. Town Supervisor Rosaline Seege also informed the board that there would be extra costs in the assessment department that would be clarified by the next regular meeting.

North Collins had been in a shared assessment services agreement with the town of Evans until late last year. At that time, Evans decided to share services with the town of Cheektowaga, nullifying the pact with North Collins.

Ebersole also provides assessment service to the town of Collins. Seege said that she would not rule out a share agreement with the neighboring town, “if I can see some real value in doing so.”

Town Justice Michael Stevens took advantage of the special meeting to say that he did not have an opportunity to respond to an audit of his department. Stevens said that the audit, in its draft and final versions, “contains factual errors, most probably due to miscommunication.”

He said that Seege had not informed him of the time frame required to respond; the deadline has passed. He also accused Seege of telling him to file his reply, even though it was too late to do so.

Seege said that, while she did have the final version of the audit in her possession, she was not aware that the response deadline passed. She told Stevens, “You received your draft audit in October and didn’t ask me about it until our last board meeting in December.”

Stevens insisted that instructions explaining the method of filing comments with the auditor should have been included with the draft, along with the deadline.

The justice said that Seege had failed to meet with him, prior to the budget’s being adopted, as he sought to add $6,000 to the court’s personnel line.

Board Member John Tobia asked for clarification, in the event the audit becomes town property.

Seege replied that it will be posted online. She also called the audit a tool “to see where we can do better.”

Since the deadline had passed for Stevens’ response to the auditor, Tobia suggested that his responses be attached to the final audit, when it appears online.

With three newly-seated councilmen, the board agreed to meet in a work session on Jan. 28, to review issues planned for the regular February meeting.

Seege had instituted work sessions early in her term, but those were later abandoned by the board as unproductive.

The board will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11.

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