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New Baltimore board's decision to do away with tax collector in question

May 21, 2021 5:30 am

Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the New Baltimore Town Board voted in April to abolish the position of tax collector and now some are asking why the decision was made during an election year. Tax collector is an elected position that handles property, water and sewer taxes. The current tax collector, Diane Jordan, will retire at the end of December. The board voted unanimously to eliminate the position and transfer the tax collector's duties to the town clerk's office. New Baltimore, Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso said this week the decision to abolish the position has been discussed for some time. “We decided to go with what most of the towns in Greene County have already done. ...when we found out that our longtime tax collector wasn’t going to continue — she was going to retire — we decided now was the time," Ruso said. However, Janet Kash, co-chairwoman of the New Baltimore Democratic Committee has questioned the timing of the decision. She noted that the Working Families Party had already submitted a petition to run former Ravens-Coeymans-Selkirk Community Library Director Judith Felsten for the post, and the Democratic Party intended to nominate Felsten at their caucus in July. Kash said she found the timing odd in an election year. “We were curious about the timing and wondering why they would do this in an election year, but I don’t assign any politicism to anyone,” Kash said. James Eckl, a member of the New Baltimore Democratic Committee, in a letter to the Greene County Board of Elections, questioned the legality of the board’s decision, claiming that under town law, legislative action is needed to eliminate the position. The decision is also “contrary to sound policy,” he said. He called on the county to put the position back on the ballot in November. Republican Election Commissioner Brent Bogardus said the town makes the decision, but the state board of elections is verifying whether all legal requirements have been met in terms of the timing. Read the full story at ravenanews [dot] com.