LAKE PLACID - The North Elba Town Council voted unanimously to change an elected property tax assessor position to an appointed one at Tuesday night's public hearing.
The current assessor's office is set up to be staffed by three elected members. However, in December the department's chairman, Kimball Daby, died after 35 years in the role.
Town Supervisor Roby Politi made a comment of appreciation for Daby's long career as assessor. Politi said Daby was the lead assessor who did the bulk of the work for North Elba.
"We were lucky over the last 30 years to have Kim Daby as our assessor," Politi said. "He was aware of all the properties and people in the community."
After Daby's death, the office was then left with two employees, Arthur Jubin and Jim Bishop. The term of both remaining elected assessors will be terminated on Dec. 31.
Asked for a comment Feb. 12, Bishop said it was the first he had heard about the town board's decision.
The board believed one professional, full-time assessor could handle the workload. With the newly appointed assessor comes a six-year term, unlike the four-year term for each elected position. An appointed assessor is held to a higher legal standard, required by law to take 12 hours of continued education on their position each year.
Politi said the decision to hire a professional assessor to fill the role is not controversial. Other board members agreed, noting that most people in North Elba they had talked to did not have a problem with the switch.
"I've only had one person come up to to me and say it should be an elected official." Politi said. "If 60 or 70 people showed up tonight, that would be another thing.
"We don't take it lightly, this decision. We thought long and hard about it."
Two residents showed up for the meeting Tuesday night. Richard Smith, of North Elba, had a question about whether the job would go to a local or an out-of-town resident.
Politi said the board would appoint the most qualified candidate for the position, but added that if two applicants had a similar experience and one was a resident of North Elba, that would come into consideration.
Moving forward, the board plans to make a decision on who will be the new assessor over the next couple of weeks. They have interviewed a total of 10 applicants. The board appointed Jubin to be temporary chairman until a replacement is found.
In other business, town Code Enforcement Officer James Morganson, a member of the Torch Restoration Committee, spoke to the board about the successful relighting of the 1980 Olympic Cauldron. He thanked the dozens of volunteers who pitched in to make it possible.
"If you see any of these people, please thank them for their efforts," Morganson said.
Town Councilman Jay Rand said the volunteers did a really nice job.
"It was really special," Rand said.
The board also passed a resolution approving the Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon, which is scheduled for June 8.