Weekly Feature

2012-04-05 / Front Page

Towns agree to share assessor to save money


Fusco Fusco The Town of Lancaster’s decision to share assessor services with the Town of Clarence could be the first of several such agreements between the town and other municipalities.

Supervisor Dino Fudoli said he wants to pursue similar shared services agreements, and that Clarence Supervisor David Hartzell is open to it, as well.

“We owe it to the taxpayers to provide the best possible services at the lowest possible cost, and this fits that model. The two of us see eye to eye on that, and if this works out, this will hopefully be the first of many deals we will work out together,” said Fudoli. “I’m leaving the door open to any other town that wishes to explore this option with Lancaster.” The Lancaster Town Board unanimously approved the agreement at its meeting Monday, while Clarence’s board did so last week. Under it, Clarence Town Assessor Christine Fusco will split her time evenly between the two municipalities.

Prior to the agreement, Fusco earned a salary of $70,000, plus benefits that amounted to a cost of about $100,000, said Clarence Town Attorney Lawrence Meckler.

The Clarence board increased her salary to $90,000, which would be $130,000 with the inclusion of benefits. Lancaster and Clarence would each pay $65,000 for her services, a cost savings of about $45,000 for Clarence.

It will save Lancaster about $40,000 a year, according to Fudoli. The agreement runs through the end of December 2013.

Sharing services is the “only way we’re going to start solving our financial troubles and lowering taxes,” Fudoli said.

“It comes down to providing the same services at a lower cost.”

Fusco will remain an employee of Clarence and will be subcontracting with Lancaster, noted Clarence Councilman Bernard Kolber.

Before working for Clarence, Fusco was the assessor for Lancaster.

Everyone who has been a party to the discussions is confident the consolidation will work, said Meckler.

Fusco said the contract was made as flexible as possible to allow her to accomplish what will be necessary for both towns, and she doesn’t expect any new employees to be required in the Clarence Assessor’s Office.

She said she might have to put in additional hours as now through July 1 is the “busy time.”

She promised the Clarence Town Board that her responsibilities would be met.

“You can have enough confidence in me — it won’t be an issue,” she said.

Clarence Editor Andrea Kimbriel contributed to this article.

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