NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 26, 2013

New model for proposed Assessor's Office

(Continued)

Patriot Properties Inc., the outside firm Sproul hopes to hire to meet the DOR required fieldwork, would provide “full measure and list of properties within the town at $20,000 per year.” This price includes free software for GIS mapping, although a $1,500 annual maintenance cost for GIS is required.

John Cena Sr. of the Board of Assessors said his team is receptive to Sproul’s idea. “The savings is substantial to the municipality,” Cena noted.

The total budget for the Assessor’s office this year is $136,204, but falls to $128,315 under Sproul’s new model next year.

The reorganization comes on the heels of several months of instability in the Assessor’s Office. Last November Karen Rassais resigned as chief assessor, citing weariness over a difficult political climate in town in recent years. She was earning an annual salary of $86,681 at the time. Rassais’ departure followed a controversial change in the town’s finance director position and the resignation of the assistant treasurer position within the previous 18 months.

Then in January, Ellen Jameson resigned as clerk for the assessor’s office without giving a reason. Later that month Lauren Woekel of Pelham, N.H., accepted the full-time chief assessor’s position with a starting salary of $75,000 but quickly changed her mind before even beginning her first day on the job. She said that travel, salary and benefits being offered in West Newbury played a factor in her decision to stick with her current position.

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