World Series Game 6 brought brevity to the November 4 meeting of the Mamaroneck Town Board meeting. After a brief review and approval of fire claims and four certiorari settlements, the board spoke briefly about a few other matters, including a new assistant for the assessor’s office and the need for citizen input on the 2010 budget.
Mamaroneck Hires Clerk to Maintain Larchmont Assessment Roll
At its October 20 meeting, the board approved the one-year appointment of an administrative intern, Raquel Arsi, for a shared position – two days per week assisting with the Town of Mamaroneck’s record management program, three days wearing an assessor’s hat. In her assessor role, her salary will be paid by the Village of Larchmont for handling the Village assessment roll, currently a responsibility of the Town of Mamaroneck assessor.
The handling of the Village “roll” has been a topic of discussion between the two governing bodies for the past two to three years. (See: Town & Village Make Progress On Taxes, Tunnel & Parking.) The Mamaroneck Town Board has suggested that there is no need for Larchmont to continue to have its own roll. To save time and money, Larchmont could adopt the one for the Town, since the assessment data is almost identical on the two rolls for properties in Larchmont Village.
Alternatively, as stated by Town Administrator Steve Altieri at the October meeting, Mamaroneck Town would prefer that the Village handle its own assessment rolls.
Prior to the appointment of Ms. Arsi, the Town advised Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld that it would be hiring someone for this job, the cost of which would be borne by the Village. Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe met with the mayor in the past few weeks to tell her of this appointment.
On October 24, Mayor Feld was notifed that the Town had begun the preparation of the Village roll. The mayor was advised the Village was to pay $25,000 for the part-time services of Ms. Arsi. This payment may be made monthly, beginning this month. Since the Village’s budget year differs from that of the Town, the amount can be apportioned over two fiscal years.
Mayor Liz Feld expressed her disapproval of the new hire in an email responding to the Gazette’s request for comment: “The Town Board’s decision to hire more personnel in the Assessor’s Office defies the imperative — confirmed Tuesday in election results across the region — that governments need to be doing ‘more with less.’ “
The mayor said the Town had rejected suggestions to review the assessor’s office to look for efficiencies. She also noted that Larchmont residents already pay for the assessor through their Town taxes. The “sudden decision to assess the residents of VOL an additional $25,000 fee … seems to fly in the face of the spirit of cooperation underlying the Shared Services Study Group,” she added.
Larchmont is participating with Mamaroneck Town and Mamaroneck Village in a joint task force to consider ways to reduce costs and improve services by sharing or consolidating functions. (See: VOL Taps New & Former Trustee for Consolidation Group.) The report is due by the end of the year.
Mayor Feld said Larchmont will consider its options on the assessor once the report is out. “In the meantime, we will pay the TOM to provide ongoing service to our residents.”
Call, Write, Let the TOM Know Your Views
Councilmembers Phyllis Wittner and Ernie Odierna seemed to be ignoring the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for” when they requested input from residents on the proposed budget (and any other issue relevance to the governance of the Town).
So far, there has been very little participation from residents at public hearings and work sessions on the budget.
Residents wishing to offer comment should contact the Town or individual council members. Details of budget sessions, which are open to the public, are listed on the Town website.
Adjournment of the meeting came in plenty of time to see most of the game.