February 25, 2009

Consolidation Is Never Easy

The County Administration Committee heard back from a consultant and concluded that county-wide assessment is essentially a non-starter because the hurdles to getting there are too high. Boo frigging hoo. If it's a good idea, start finding ways to knock down the hurdles. Progressively reforming layers of government in NYS is not going to be easy but if we can't even get out of the starting blocks then how can we ever tackle the giant issues?

Let me be clear that I'm not glossing over some of the legitimate concerns of people. Ms. Kimble makes a good point about the county not wanting to add 34 people to the payroll to do countywide assessment. However, would the overall cost be more or less than what the towns and counties currently pay?

After all, it's not like the current system is all that good. Bill Budde, head of the county's Real Tax Department, has long been an apologist for the town assessors who are a mixed bag. Some towns get hammered with reassessments, others look the other way. And where the heck is Greg Lewis in all of this?

Once again, on a somewhat controversial topic that takes leadership, Lewis is no where to be found.

See, depending on the topic, Lewis either takes the "I'm the leader of this county and the man in charge." That's for the easy stuff that gets his mug in the paper.

Then, for the stuff that is actually important, Lewis morphs into, "I'm just guy a implementing whatever the big, mean county legislators tell me do." This is pretty much how he acts at budget time.

So, county-wide assessment goes on the scrap heap. Bill Budde can breathe easier.......don't want to upset the cushy applecart.

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