To Mattituck resident Bill Edwards,Receiver of Taxes is an archaic position — a holdover from Colonial days and a waste of taxpayer money.
So he’s running for the position on the Democratic ticket with the intention of abolishing the job.
“I said I would run only if I could on the platform that the position be done away with,” he said. “The tax receiver makes almost $35,000 a year — more than Town Board members, who put more time in — and generous benefits. I think the town could save some serious money.”
, Southold Town tax receiver for 15 years who is running again for the position under the Republican / Conservative / Independence parties, is currently making a salary of $34,674. By abolishing the position and shifting those duties to the town clerk’s office, Edwards estimates that the Town would save up to half a million dollars over the next 10 years.
If elected, within 90 days after taking office, Edwards, who served on the Town Board previously from 2004 to 2007, would present a detailed plan to the board on transitioning the tax receiver’s duties to the town clerk’s office.
“There were some informal conversations when I was a councilman before about this — it was generally agreed that the position is a waste of money, especially when you can pay your taxes at any local bank now too," he said.
Still, if one position is abolished another will probably have to be created as overseer, said Southold Republican Party Chairman Denis Noncarrow.
"Also, once you take a position like that at Town Hall and shove it over to a paid employee, you have no say if that person isn't doing a good job," he said. "You're better off with an elected official — if they're not doing the job, you can elect them out. Right now we've got three people in that department doing all the work and our system is one of the lowest cost per property around."
As a New York State town of the second class, Edwards added, the Town Board does legally have the right to abolish the position of tax receiver and move the oversight responsibility to the town clerk.
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