MOREAU — The town has a new assessor who has been working in assessing roles for eight years but has never before been a sole assessor.
Leah Cronin was appointed to a six-year term, beginning Oct. 1, for a salary of $62,000. Until then, she is serving as acting assessor one day a week.
Cronin has been the valuation assistant to the Malta assessor for almost nine years. She is also a licensed real estate appraiser and has four years of experience as an appraiser. Cronin was also the town’s acting assessor this month, after Assessor Peggy Jenkins retired on July 31.
Cronin graduated from South Glens Falls High School and is a Moreau resident. She has a bachelor’s from SUNY Oneonta and has met all the state requirements to be an assessor.
“She was the right-hand person for the sole assessor in Malta,” said Supervisor Todd Kusnierz. “This is a very important position for the town and we wanted to make sure we have the right person.”
Although Moreau is a small residential town, its assessment needs are unique. It has hydroelectric plants, a gas-fired co-generation plant and a paper plant, all of which are difficult to properly value since they are not often sold.
Cronin had to sit through at least five interviews.
“We interviewed her extensively. The board members actually met with her separately,” Kusnierz said.
She was appointed Tuesday by a vote of 4-0, with board member Gina LeClair absent.
Board member Alan Van Tassel said he was impressed by her.
“She has tons of experience. Her references are outstanding,” he said.
The board also plans to hire a full-time clerk to assist Cronin.
“It is clear, with the direction Leah wants to go, she’s going to need help,” Kusnierz said. “There’s a significant amount of work to make sure we maintain a 100% equalization rate.”
Cronin wants the office to become a “model” for assessing offices in the state.
One of the first steps will be having someone in the office during business hours. For years, the office has been dark on many occasions, when the assessor was doing site visits. Similarly, the building inspector’s office is often dark. One clerk has been trying to field calls and visits to both offices. But with vacations, sick time and the need for most staff to be out of the office to accomplish their jobs, residents sometimes end up leaving sticky notes with messages on the counter in front of the offices.
“It is the goal of the town to have that office staffed,” Kusnierz said.
Published by The Post Star, Aug. 29, 2019