David Jones is the new assessor for the Town of Sharon.
And because the job is shared with the Towns of Carlisle and Seward, he’ll be assessor there too.
Mr. Jones replaces Susan Crosby, whose term expired September 30 and wasn’t reappointed.
Because Ms. Crosby—who’d also served as assessor for the three towns under a Coordinated Assessment Program—didn’t negotiate with the state to get a more favorable equalization rate, taxes in Carlisle and Seward, and to a lesser extent, Sharon, are going up; in Carlisle, people are seeing their tax bills go up as much as $900, said Supervisor John Leavitt.
Appointed Wednesday in Sharon, Mr. Jones planned to start Thursday with office hours Mondays, 12:30-4pm and Thursdays, 8am-12:30pm.
He’ll also meet with people by appointment.
Mr. Jones will handle assessor duties for all three towns in the CAP out of his Sharon office in the municipal side of the Sharon Springs Free Library.
Mr. Jones told Supervisor Sandy Manko and councilmen that he worked as a certified assessor for 22 years before making the move to fulltime assessing.
He said he’s familiar with property values in Schoharie, Otsego, and Delaware Counties and he’s been the assessor in Schoharie and Esperance for the last three years.
Turning around the situation with the equalization rates isn’t something that can be done overnight, Mr. Jones warned.
“It can be tough to get the equalization rate back up,” he said. “There’s an inverse relationship with taxes…it’s hard to climb back.”
Essential to any progress, he said, is data collection; some towns haven’t updated their tax rolls in years—it’s been nearly 30 years since Sharon has—and everywhere, there are properties that slip through the cracks.
When Schoharie and Esperance did an update, 70 percent of the roll changed, he said, “But I only had two grievances.”
But in Sharon, “We can’t do an update, because there’s no data.”
That’s something Schoharie County is looking into, though.
The county is considering applying for a state shared services grant that would hire data-collectors while leaving assessments in the hands of individual assessors and towns.
The idea was discussed briefly at supervisors’ September meeting and is expected to be reviewed more in-depth on October 18.