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Coventry Select Board considers replacing listers with professional assessor

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copyright the Chronicle January 3, 2018

COVENTRY — The select board here is considering asking Town Meeting voters to replace the listers, who are currently elected, with a professional assessor, at least for a year or so.

Because of the condition of the listers’ records, Ed Clodfelter of the New England Municipal Resource Center (NEMRC) is recommending a townwide reappraisal, Selectman Scott Morley told the board at its December 26 meeting. He passed around a copy of Mr. Clodfelter’s letter to the board.

The re-appraisal would cost about $100,000.

Mr. Clodfelter’s letter also says that the listers’ records are in such bad shape that it will take at least a year to get ready for an appraiser to come in.

There are missing records, questionable or outdated assessments, and a lot of math errors, Mr. Morley said.

“I wonder whether, with all we’ve learned, it might be better to get rid of elected listers, at least for a short period of time, and hire a skilled professional assessor to straighten out the Grand List,” he said.

“We need to fix and correct the deficiencies that all of the professionals we’ve brought in have noted.”

Mr. Morley said he thinks a new townwide appraisal would allow the listers to start over fresh with an accurate Grand List.

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