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The Times
  • Herkimer Co. will no longer provide assessment services to Little Falls

  • Herkimer County will no longer provide assessment services to the city of Little Falls.

    The legislature voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to cancel a contract with the city after its Common Council Tuesday evening adopted a resolution to appoint a part-time city assessor.

    Two legislators were absent for Wednesday’s quarterly session.

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  • Herkimer County will no longer provide assessment services to the city of Little Falls.
    The legislature voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to cancel a contract with the city after its Common Council Tuesday evening adopted a resolution to appoint a part-time city assessor.
    Two legislators were absent for Wednesday’s quarterly session.
    “It’s important to note the legislature did not have to say yes to the city’s request, because a contract was in place as was an extension of that contract. Why the legislature agreed to the request is because canceling the contract allows an individual who was laid off secure employment and it also allows the city to hire someone they are familiar with,” said Legislator Patrick Russell, R - Old Forge.
    Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters was called on to break a 4 - 4 tie Tuesday evening on a resolution to cancel an agreement with the county for the provision of assessment services and approve the appointment of Joy Presta, who was recently laid off by the county, as a part-time city assessor.
    Presta, who spearheaded an investigation into the use of three properties owned by the Little Falls Family YMCA, and an unidentified real property tax aide were laid off from the Herkimer County Real Property Tax Service on Dec. 28, 2012, due to a lack of funding for their positions.
    The city is in litigation with the YMCA over the properties Presta determined were not being used solely for charitable use and should be returned to the tax roll. The properties are emergency and low-income housing at 43 Furnace and 544 Garden streets, and the Community Co-op.
    Russell and county Administrator James Wallace previously said the decision was made to layoff two employees because the Real Property Tax Service has been operating with a deficit of $115,010.
    Wallace previously said the layoffs would save $50,000 in 2013 and $84,000 in 2014.
    The discrepancy, he said, was due to the county budgeting for unemployment.
    “I also think it’s important to note the county has the staff to provide assessment services to the city of Little Falls. It was there decision to hire their own assessor,” said Legislator Raymond Smith, R - Dolgeville. “A lack of staff in the department is not the issue here. The city chose to hire the person who had been providing assessment service to them through county as their own assessor.”
    Russell said the legislature also agreed to honor the Common Council’s request despite there being no cancellation clause in the contract, which had been extended to continue until Dec. 31.
    Wallace said with the cancellation of the contract, the county will lose about $22,800 in revenue.
    “That was money that was budgeted for, so while we will be able to save on unemployment, there will still be a shortfall of a few thousand dollars that will have to be accounted for,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The county will continue to provide assessment services to five municipalities.
    In other business Wednesday afternoon, the legislature extended an agreement with Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital of Cooperstown for the examination, evaluation and treatment, when appropriate, of inmates from the Herkimer County Correctional Facility with active pulmonary tuberculosis.
    • The legislature awarded a contract for the provision of non-emergency Medicaid transportation to Bernie Bus Service of Utica at a cost of $67,000 per month beginning Feb. 1. The contract will be on a month-to-month basis until New York state takes over full operation of the program.
    • The legislature executed a court security contract amendment with the state Office of Court Administration for the period of April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, with the maximum reimbursement not to exceed $51,500.
    • The legislature designated The Telegram and The Times as the county’s official newspapers for 2013, and Bank of America, M&T Bank, NBT Bank, First Niagara Bank, Adirondack Bank and Chase Manhattan as the official depositories for county funds for 2013.
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