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Town of Evans appoints new assessor

EVANS — The town of Evans now officially has a new assessor, after the Evans Town Board approved the shared services agreement with the town of Cheektowaga that had been tabled, earlier this month.

The agreement would run from Oct. 1 of this year – Sept. 30, 2019, with an annual cost of $50,521 paid to the town of Cheektowaga, quarterly.

The motion was made by Supervisor Keith Dash and seconded by Councilman Dennis Feldmann. Before the resolution could accepted, Councilman Paul Cooper asked for a discussion.

“If we go with this new contract with Cheektowaga, we would certainly lose the contract we have currently with North Collins,” he said. “They had requested that we enter into an agreement with them last year and that was dismissed for reasons that I don’t know. I did a bit of math and, if we go with this contract, the potential revenue loss works out to be about $575,400 in revenue, either lost or not achieved.

“Also, let’s look at the hours lost,” he added. “Currently our assessor is in the office four days week. The new assessor would be responsible for two days a week. There’s a significant loss of face time with our residents, by going from four days down to two days. If we were to figure that out over the course of a year, it works out to about 11 weeks or something along those lines. We [are] losing services for our people. We’re losing revenue opportunities, by going with this contract. I think this is a terrible deal for our residents who will lose valuable face time with their assessor.”

Dash responded to Cooper’s claim that North Collins was willing to enter into an agreement.

“I did go back to look to see the email I did receive from Collins Supervisor David Tessmer and it said, ‘I am not sure if this is a viable plan,’” he said. “However, if we consider this proposal tonight, over the course of six years, the town and the taxpayers will save over $200,000. Being the chief fiscal officer of the town, I’m looking at a savings of over $200,000, over six years.”

The resolution passed via a 2 – 1 vote. Dash and Feldmann voted aye, while Cooper opposed the appointment.

“Because of the economic times and the lack of money, it was time for the town board to become fiscally responsible for its mistakes of the past and to correct them from going on in the future,” Dash said. “Collins had every opportunity to respond to the RFP that Erie County put out, which was made public back on July 16.

“When I spoke with the supervisor of Collins and he said that he wasn’t sure that this would be a viable solution, I need to have a viable solution in a town that is broke. This isn’t personal; this isn’t politics and it’s what’s best for the town of Evans. As supervisor and the chief fiscal officer of Evans, how can I ignore a $200,000 savings for my friends and my family?”

Cooper said that he had no comment to make about his decision, when questioned after the meeting.

The shared services agreement with the town of Cheektowaga will take effect Oct. 1.

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