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Turin appoints Gratch tax assessor; Leyden expected to follow

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TURIN — The Turin Town Council appointed Erin C. Gratch to replace retiring tax assessor Mario Benedetto at Monday night’s meeting, a measure expected to be repeated at the town of Leyden’s meeting this morning, continuing a 2006 Coordinated Assessment Program agreement between the towns.

Councilwoman Julia C. Ielfield was the only opposing vote, voicing concerns following the recent decision by the town of New Bremen not to reappoint Ms. Gratch. That board’s unanimous decision came after a “survey” with 550 taxpayer signatures was delivered last month and was made with the knowledge that a repayment to the state of $14,000 for discontinuing the CAP agreement could follow.

“That speaks volumes,” Mrs. Ielfield said.

Town Supervisor Gerald R. Reed Jr. said he, along with Councilwoman Joanne D’Ambrosi and members of the town of Leyden board, interviewed both Ms. Gratch and another candidate, Robert B. Ball, last week.

“I was impressed she came four hours early” to view the properties that would be in her territory, Mr. Reed said.

Citing Ms. Gratch’s lower fees, which for the first year would amount to $5,000 total less than Mr. Ball’s fees for the two towns, and her extensive experience as an assessor, Mr. Reed made the motion to appoint her.

Mr. Benedetto will remain on duty, as needed, as a data collector, helping Ms. Gratch through the transition for up to six months at a cost of $18.75 per hour.

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