The Webster Board of Assessors has three members, one of whom is selected to be the chief assessor, administering the functions of the Assessor’s Office on a daily basis and working with the state Department of Revenue (DOR). The other two members of the board review the chief’s recommendations and sign the paperwork. Anything going out of the office requires two signatures. All assessors have to be state certified.
The assessors are responsible by law for the yearly valuation of town properties, which then becomes the basis for the real estate tax levy. In Webster, the actual property valuations are done by an outside service. Valuations are based on historical sales and assessment data. The tax levy is increased by 2 ½ each year to cover inflation expense. Tax rates for residents and businesses are then set. Generally the tax levy provides about 60% of the town’s total budget. The rest comes from the state and from local fees, permits, vehicle excise tax, and such.
Incumbent Joseph J Smith III has been on the Board of Assessors since 1992, when he ran against then- incumbent assessor Joseph S. Beresik, who had been on the board since 1984,
A graduate of the State Police Academy, Mr. Smith retired as a police sergeant in 1986 after 25 years with the Webster Police Department. He received two citations for bravery.
He has served on numerous town boards and committees, including 15 years on the Park Commission, back in the 60’s, until it was abandoned, seven years on the Public Safety Committee, and 30 years on the Housing Redevelopment Authority. He was also a constable for 34 years, still actively working until two years ago.
When he retired from the police department “I still wanted to serve the people,” he said. That’s been his mantra. “When you are in these offices, you should work for the people.” His philosophy is to always do right. “If you can’t say something nice, walk away.”
He’s taking a philosophical approach to his re-election too. He’s not putting up any signs, and is not really campaigning. “If it’s God’s will,” he says, “I’ll be back.” He mentions St. Theresa, the patron saint of xxxx. If he loses, he will still be busy. He has 21 rental apartments to manage, noting that he’s been involved in real estate for 50 years. “He was born in the house he lives in,” said his wife Barbara, who was an RN at Hubbard Hospital for 41 years.
Why should people vote for him? “For my honesty, for my dedication to the town of Webster, for faithfully serving them.” He cites the assessor’s oath, “to treat everyone fairly.”
Joseph Beresik is a candidate for the Board of Assessors in order “to continue my service to the voters and taxpayers of Webster. He previously served on the Board from 1984 to 1990 as the chief assessor.
He has held a number of other elected and appointed positions, including the Zoning Board of Appeals, School Committee, Town Administrator Search Committee, and currently serves on the Finance Committee.
After his tenure on the Webster board, Mr. Beresik was appointed Assistant Assessor in Ashland, where he worked until retiring in 2003. He is a Massachusetts Accredited Assessor, a designation recognized by the DOR and cities and towns that he is qualified through education and experience.
In Ashland, Mr. Beresik set property values for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. He has also installed assessing computer systems that allowed “user-friendly” access by the public. He would like Webster’s valuations to be accessible via the Internet to realtors and the general public too, as many towns have done, rather than having to go into the town hall to search records.
Mr. Beresik also noted that, if elected, he would want to comply with DOR recommendations made to Webster in 2004 that the Assessor’s Office take on the valuation responsibilities currently being outsourced to a private firm at a cost of thousands of dollars per year. “The state felt the town can do the job in-house and has sufficient staff and equipment to do an adequate job and save the town money.” That would also help them get to know the town much better, he said.
Mr. Beresik has been a local resident all his life, graduating from Bartlett High School and earning an accounting degree from Nichols College. He worked in the private sector as an accountant before working in municipal government. He and his wife Kathy have owned property in Webster for many years and have two daughters who went through the public school system and are successful in their careers.
If elected, he said he will be “honored to serve the residents of Webster to try and make it a better town for all.”
- Tuesday, 24 April 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Letter From the Editor