LAKE PLACID - Kimball Daby died Thursday morning, Oct. 31, leaving the town of North Elba without its longtime lead assessor, even as he runs unopposed for re-election Tuesday, Nov. 5.
For nine terms totaling 35 years, Daby, 66, worked to keep all properties in the town appraised at 100-percent market value, for tax purposes. It's a tough job, and assessors tend to get much grief and little praise, but town Supervisor Roby Politi said Daby handled it with patience and pragmatism.
"He will run for election posthumously because he can't come off the ballot now," Politi told the News this morning.
Kimball Daby, standing at center, is congratulated on winning a close re-election campaign in November 2001.
News file photo/Michele Buck
There will be another election to complete Daby's term next November, and in the meantime, the town board will have to appoint a new assessor to serve until Jan. 1, 2015.
"We haven't even thought about it," Politi said. "We haven't even gotten together. We'll probably discuss it at our next town board meeting, which will be Tuesday after next (Nov. 12).
"My assumption is that once it's in the newspaper, people will probably request that they be considered."
North Elba has three assessors, with Daby as the full-time chairman of the trio and Jim Bishop and Art Jubin working part-time. It is up to the town board to appoint the chairman.
"It's a thankless job," Bishop told the News. "It takes a lot of time to keep up the data on that type of work."
Daby did the job "very efficiently," Bishop said.
"He was very experienced at it, and he had to keep up with the market."
"He was really a very knowledgeable and practical guy," Politi recalled, "and one of the things he always looked at was exemptions for veterans."
Politi said he had known Daby loosely all his life, with both of them being Lake Placid natives, but he didn't really get to know him until he got on the town board.
"You could come in with a false impression of him, but once you get to know him, he was such a nice guy," Politi said.
Bishop agreed. He first got to know Daby when he joined the town Board of Assessment Review, before he became an assessor.
"I thought, oh man, this guy ..." Bishop said. But then when he got to know him, they became close.
Daby had health problems in the past.
"He was one of these guys that had nine lives," Politi said. "He had more ailments. ... I don't know how many times I heard he was sick."
When Politi visited Daby a few days ago, the assessor asked him, "What are you doing with my budget?"
"He's on his deathbed, and he's worried about his budget," Politi said. "That's the way he was. He was always concerned about the town and his responsibilities.
"He was someone I could always count on to be there."
"We knew he was sick, but you're never prepared for something like this," Bishop said. "He will be sorely missed."