The Contract Assessor asked out of his contract with the Town to provide assessment services. William Krajeski who works with the Town through New England Municipal Consultants (NEMC) explained to the Selectboard on November 8 that the Town was changing his responsibilities, primarily because the Listers wanted more direct control over the assessments. He, however, remains ready and willing to work with the Town to make sure the transition goes smoothly.
William Krajeski speaks to Selectboard [photo from catv8 video]
The Selectboard took the view that NEMC and the Listers need to work something out, whether that means keeping the contract or agreeing on a transition plan. As the elected officials charged by state law with maintaining the Grand List, the Listers are essentially in charge, even though the Selectboard controls the purse strings. Budget constraints on any transition plan were not mentioned. A proposed arrangement satisfactory to the Listers and NEMC is expected by the November 29 Selectboard meeting.
Jettisoning the significant role of the contract assessor may not be in the best interests of the residents. As many recall, the Listers/Contract Assessor model came about because the Listers had contentious relations with taxpayers and pushed meritless litigation. Residents without lawyers contesting assessments on legal grounds got hurt. As the current chair of the Listers noted, the system worked for the last seven years, although during that time she held the view that the Listers had ceded more authority than allowed under state law.
[This post based on review of the catv8 video of the Selectboard meeting]