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Thread: Merger - consolidation or tax funded shell game ?

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    Member 4248's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Merger - consolidation or tax funded shell game ?

    Lancaster and the Tonawandas consider sharing one assessor -

    The Bufnews ran a article where the above was touted as "Cost Saving" in nature - is it - who saves what - who gains?

    First they make it sound like down sizing at work - not true - yes people have retired. So theres two tax funded pensions and benefits tax payers have and will forever support.

    They say it will save tax dollars - how - as Lancaster's Tax Assessor said, "the Tonawandas may want to hire an additional appraiser" - so that means more employees - more tax funded salaries, tax funded benefits and most likely tax funded retirement money.

    Then add in the cost of Lancaster's Assessor - no matter how you slice it the tax payers of Lancaster will still pay him and his tax funded benefits package and NY State Retirement contributions. Then the Tonawandas will also pay him - so both Towns will pay him to split his hours between them - so in reality he gets a raise to split his time between three Towns. Who pays for his vehicle and travel time ?

    Ask your self these questions:
    Will tax payers actually save money - or pay more in the long term?
    Will tax payers actually be contributing to at least two more employees - or maybe even three.
    How much will the cost of salaries,health care and tax funded pension be for all these employees?

    Lancaster looked at this idea before - it was abandoned and West Seneca joined a Consortium instead. So who Gains what - you decide because you will pay. Politicians don't create jobs - but they do create/encourage patronage positions.


    No tax funded patronage job, not running for Office , I speak for myself.
    When will tax payers out number tax funded employees at the polls?


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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Many towns in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County share assessors, but that's because each town only has enough work for a part-time person, but it's hard to find a person trained in appraising property who's willing to work only 18-20 hours a week, so the two towns fund a single full-time position. Usually, these are neighboring towns, too, where the property structure is similar, like Gerry and Charlotte or Leon and Cherry Creek.

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    Agreed, not sure about n the Tonawanda's - but in Lancaster even "Part Time Employees" are eligible for tax funded retirement credits and tax funded benefits. There are many - many appraisers who would love to work "part time" for such pay and benefits.

    Also why not contract with a appraiser or assessor - thus avoiding the tax funded benefits and life time tax funded pension? Maybe someone should ask those officials involved if/who in the private sector they discussed this with. Politicians love to slide tax funded "cookies" like these to their party supporters.

    Tax payers need to be more aware - educate each other and most importantly speak out. If your not comfortable or lack time to attend Board Meetings - write letters to the news - write letters to your Town Clerk expressing your opinions. Remember to include this sentence in your letter to officials: "Please forward a copy to all Board Members and include in Board Meeting agenda".

    What this does is create and verify that the information was received and presented. Otherwise they tend to say things like, "We never heard from anyone" - "The only people we talked to were on our side" - - Even if you are for or against - express your self. Tax dollars are being used n many cases to improve the lives of "Party Players" at the expense of home owners.

    Just don't assume whats printed in the Bufnews(or main stream media) is the complete or factual story.

    Thanks for reading this.
    No tax funded patronage job, not running for Office , I speak for myself.
    When will tax payers out number tax funded employees at the polls?


  4. #4
    Member 4248's Avatar
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    As some wonder whats actually happening - some politicians are now back tracking on earlier statements - One Town of Lancaster Council Member claims multiple conversations with Tonawanda Officials - the Lancaster Town Board discussed this at a "Work Session" - the Bufnews reported conversations took place last year. Who should taxpayers believe - read this carefully worded article - it doesn't answer the questions of - how many more employees will be needed for each Town - how much will each new employee get paid - how much will tax payers get billed for health care and pension costs for each employee - what will be the total amount the Lancaster Lead Assessor will receive - many assume he Will get a raise even though who ever gets the position will not work in any one Town/City full time.

    HOW Much in factual tax dollars will be spent - how much if any tax dollars will be saved and by who - no true accurate numbers have been published to this day.

    Search continues for shared assessor By Neale Gulley
    The Tonawanda News The Tonawanda News Fri Jan 20, 2012, 10:00 PM EST

    — — Interviews were conducted Friday of three finalists vying to serve as the next property assessor to serve both the town and City of Tonawanda.

    Town of Tonawanda Councilman Joe Emminger, a member of a selection committee, said a decision on the shared services plan is expected sometime in the first week of February.

    That said, he indicated the details of the arrangement are still far from settled — including whether or not a third or even fourth municipality could be added to the new job description, and what portion of the salary obligation would fall to each.

    “We’re open to discussions with any community moving forward,” he said of the job expected to pay between $80,000 and $90,000.

    Emminger, however, stressed that media reports earlier this week suggesting that current Town of Lancaster Assessor Dave Marrano — who is one of the three finalists — would work for all three municipalities are a long way from fruition.

    “We were just talking out loud,” he said, adding that no official discussions at all have been held with Lancaster on the matter.

    Instead, Marrano simply applied.

    That wasn’t enough to keep a Lancaster councilman from publicly embracing the idea, leading to rumors of a pact.

    “That caused a lot of problems in the town,” Emminger said, wanting to set the record straight. “It was cause for a lot of hurt feelings.”

    Interviews held Friday, he said, were only among candidates for a role to be shared by the town and city.

    But Emminger said the committee is still reaching out to communities in both Erie and Niagara counties to potentially add to the duties, in which case new interviews would be conducted.

    “It’s all about shared services for less money,” he said.

    Narrowed down from an original list of 11 candidates selected for interviews, Marrano is the only of three finalists working locally as an assessor.

    In terms of money, the town would almost certainly pay more of the successful candidate’s salary.

    That’s because of the 35,000 parcels spanning both municipalities, the majority, 28,500, are located in the town.

    Emminger, however, said that doesn’t necessarily mean an assessor working for both would be paid an 80/20 split among the respective taxpayers.

    “Obviously that’s one way you could look at doing it, but I don’t think that’s the way it’s going to end up. It’s not going to be 50/50, obviously, the town will have to pay more,” he said.

    Plans to form a shared services pact emerged largely as a result of circumstance.

    When city Assessor Pat Bacon retired in May, the city contacted the town with the idea, after interviewing a replacement candidate who ultimately backed out.

    Left without an assessor, Emminger said the city then retained the services of former town Assessor Dave Unmack as a fill-in.

    But when Unmack retired from the town at the end of the year, conditions were right to pursue a shared role, he said.

    After the job opportunity was posted on state and county Web sites in recent months, 21 responses were culled. A questionnaire including questions designed to weed out some candidates was returned Jan 16, resulting in the reduced list of 11 names. Of those, four were considered finalists, while one dropped out.
    No tax funded patronage job, not running for Office , I speak for myself.
    When will tax payers out number tax funded employees at the polls?


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