'You have real, competent people in your local Town Halls ready to serve you'
The past ten days have been chaotic to say the least. In the days after the new tax legislation was signed a small but steady flow of calls came to our Town Hall asking if the tax bills were available to prepay.
Then on the Friday before Christmas our Governor issued a short, but pointed poke in the eye to President Trump seeming to indicate he was authorizing local governments to allow payment of not only Town and County property tax but also school taxes.
The flood gates opened with calls and emails over the Christmas weekend as well on lines at our Tax Receivers office soon as it opened on Tuesday.
With news reports galore and the confusing information from Albany, residents were rightly confused but once again local government came to the rescue.
Our Receiver’s office staff had bills ready, clarified what could and couldn’t be paid and answered each resident’s questions with courtesy, competence and a smile.
They mobilized quickly, handled the rush with professionalism and accommodated everyone.
They also made sure the bills were online and could be paid there as well.
This is the latest example of the value of local government, something that existed in America since our founding.
Imagine in this instance if you had to go to or call Albany or even the County to ask questions or pay your bill before year end.
Think of the last time you needed help with a problem from a State agency and how long it took, if you got it at all.
Your local governments, elected from within your towns, cities or villages across New York State provide essential services that keep you safe, plow your roads, protect your natural resources and give you the biggest bang for your hard earned tax dollar.
More importantly when problems arise you know where to find your local government officials, they live in your community.
As our Governor continues on his quest to eliminate or consolidate local government, think about how this latest fiasco could have been infinitely worse and certainly more costly.
For what is less than most people pay for yearly cable or cell phone service, you have real, competent people in your local Town Halls ready to serve you.
Michael P. Sweeton is supervisor of the Town of Warwick and the president of the Orange Association of Towns, Villages and Cities.