By Meredith McCulloch
The Assessors will be upgrading their software, Patriot Properties Mass Appraisal Software, this summer. The cost for the upgrade was approved last year, however the software maintenance will rise by $4950. They expect that the implementation of the upgrade will require staff time on the Assessors’ staff.
Appearing before the Finance Committee, Ron Cordes, chair of the Board of Assessors, said they were requesting a personnel budget that would provide two 35-hour administrative assistants in addition to the two professional positions. This has been the staffing level.
He explained that Bedford has had an extraordinarily high turnover in the Associate Assessor position. With the need to hire a new person once again, the Board sought a candidate that had already served as senior associate assessor. To meet the pay level required, they reduced one administrative assistant position to 25 hours per week and used those funds to augment the Associate Assessor’s salary. For FY17 they asked to fully fund the administrative assistant at 35 hours per week.
On other topics, the Assessors foresee no change in the overlay reserve at this time. The reserve is set aside to cover any potential abatements for assessments that are being challenged. They also reported that personal property receipts should continue to grow as improved evaluations are given by the new consultant. However, the town will not see as sharp an increase as last year when a major new company moved into town. (For a description of personal property see: https://www.bedfordma.gov/assessing-department/pages/personal-property.)
The associate assessor is the chief professional and manager of that department. The Assessors’ staff consists of the associate assessor, an assistant assessor and two administrative assistants at 35 and 25 hours per week. The Assessors are elected.