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North Castle Daily News

North Castle’s Special Election for Receiver of Taxes

May 9, 2017
A local law adopted by North Castle’s Town Board on March 22, 2017 will go before voters on Tuesday May 23 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will determine whether to reclassify the office of Receiver of Taxes as an appointed position from an elected position.

The proposition is as follows: “Shall the office of Receiver of Taxes in the Town of North Castle be reclassified from an elective to an appointive position effective as of January 1, 2018?”

If the law is not passed, the position will be up for election in November 2017.

At the Town Board meeting on March 22, Supervisor Michael Schiliro said Patricia Colombo, the current North Castle receiver of taxes, would be valuable to assist in how the office would be transitioned in anticipation of her future retirement and the passing of the proposition.

Schiliro said that the Town Board plans to review the function of the tax assessor’s office to be more efficient. Regardless, the board plans to hire Colombo, if the law passes, as the appointed Tax Receiver at the same salary. The intention is to have her assist with the transition of perhaps merging the tax receiver’s office with another department and North Castle to potentially have a part-time tax receiver. As the department moves forward toward receiving taxes paid online, he said the position can easily be made to be less than full-time.

The responsibilities of the receiver of taxes are to collect taxes for the “Byram Hills School District, and proportionate amounts for Bedford, Valhalla, Harrison and Mount Pleasant School District for North Castle students who attend these schools.” In addition, the receiver collects taxes for the Town of North Castle, its water and sewer districts, power districts, and Westchester County.

Schiliro also said with this important administration position, as with all administrative functions handled for the Town, “We’d rather be able to interview and hire for this position than leave it up to an election. All of the Town Board members are in favor to change the tax receiver's position to be appointed rather than elected.”

Town Board Member Barbara DeGiacinto said that she is in favor of making the receiver of taxes an appointed position given that there is no deputy who has been groomed to take over when Colombo retires. Other administrative positions of the town are Town Administrator, Director of Finance, Director of Planning, Building Inspector, Highway General Foreman, Director of Water and Sewer, Superintendent of Recreation and Parks, and Chief of Police. They are all hired positions as individuals submit resumes, are interviewed, and have references checked to be sure they are qualified for the position. DiGiacinto said she also supports the method to hire a tax receiver as opposed to an election because there may be a potential candidate who runs for the office and wins by having a good election campaign, but may not be the best qualified.

Although concerned about incurring costs for a special election, Town Board Member Jose Berra said he favors having the tax receiver's position have greater efficiencies, thus saving some money by doing so because it’s fiscally prudent to make an investment now to save money in the future.

From a management standpoint, Schiliro said that the Town Board is responsible for all of the town’s departments. However, to change from a full-time position to a part-time position for someone who holds an elected position and is responsible to report to the people who elected them, may be more difficult than to change the position of a tax receiver who is appointed. An appointed tax receiver in the position may be easy to allow the town board to merge some departments and make the Receiver of Taxes a part-time job.

The special election will take place at different consolidated polling places, one in each of the three hamlets. Residents of Election Districts Nos. 2,4,6,7,8,10, and 11 will vote at the Armonk Firehouse. Voters of Election Districts Nos. 1 and 9 will vote at the Banksville Fire House, and voters of Election Districts Nos. 3 and 5 will vote at the North Castle Community Center in North White Plains.

Absentee ballots are available from and from the Town Clerk’s Office. All absentee ballots must be received no later than May 23 at 5:00 p.m.