Pennsylvania GOP primary that could shape control of the Senate
Kevin P. Feeley of 25 Baker Road has served Arlington as an assessor for 26 years, and at 77, he's again seeking reelection to a three-year seat. This time he has opposition, as former School Committee member Martin Thrope has taken out papers. Papers for both have been certified.
Asked why he wants to run for reelection, Feeley wrote that during his 26 years, the assessment department has become modern, automated and efficient, one that has earned a reputation for fair and impartial property assessments and fine customer service.
As a result, he wrote, the department has a very low rate of abatement appeals, around 1 percent, compared to similar communities.
In addition, he wrote, it also carries a low overlay account, which minimizes the effect it has on the tax rate compared to similar communities.
Board members work with the assessors' office to arrive at uniform and accurate values for all property, real and personal, within the town by Jan. 1. Every three years, the state the Department of Revenue reviews and certifies the values that the assessors generate.
Felley wrote: "The fact that the town has never had to issue estimated tax bills, which have caused many of our similar communities to incur unnecessary expenses, coupled with the recent rating by Bloomberg Businessweek of the town as the second best housing market in the country, all attest to the performance of the department.
"This is a critical period for the department because of the loss of three long-term employees. The untimely death of the office manager and the retirement of both the director of assessing and an administrative employee leave the department with only one remaining employee. My objective in seeking reelection is to ensure that the department continues its exemplary performance record."
Asked what his qualifications are to serve, he wrote:
"I am well qualified by both training and experience. I am an attorney by profession with wide experience in real estate. I am a member of a number of professional assessing organizations, and I have been certified by the Commonwealth's Department of Revenue as a local assessor qualified to approve a tax rate.
"My prior service on the Board of Assessors together with my prior service on the Board of Selectman, Recreation Commission and Town Meeting has developed a deep knowledge of the town, which serves to make me a uniquely qualified candidate."
As to challenges he sees for the board and how he would address them, he noted three major challenges facing the department in the coming years:
1.) Complete the training of the three new employees. This will be accomplished with a combination of on the job training, which will be provided by Director of Assessing John Speidel and the board, and by providing access to formal training and educational opportunities.
2.) The completion of the triennial revaluation of all property in the town and obtaining the necessary Certification from the Department of Revenue resulting in a timely issuance of the tax bills. This will be a full-year effort requiring input from all staff members, board members and an outside consultant.
3.) The implementation of the townwide GIS system as it relates to the Assessing Department and the improvements to our current automated systems, with particular emphasis on how it relates to the interaction with other departments of the town. The director of assessing and staff will work closely with the town's information technology department in implementing these critical improvements.
Thrope's answers to basic queries will be published separately once they are received.
Nomination papers for town and school offices may be taken out until 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Papers must have 50 certified signatures.
This story was first published Tuesday, Feb. 7.
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