The Fairfield Board of Finance recently asked the town attorney what its role was in the town's real property assessment system. On the town's website, anybody can read Article 8.3 of the town charter, entitled Board of Finance, which states in section D:
"Assessment system. The Board of Finance shall install and shall modernize from time to time a system by which equitable and just values of taxable property within the Town may be ascertained. The system shall provide, among other things, for the collection of data relating to each parcel of land and to each building within the Town and for the arrangement of such data in convenient and practical form for the use of the Assessor. The system may provide for the preparation and upkeep of tax maps and land maps, in the discretion of the Board of Finance."
According to the town attorney, who was appointed by the first selectman, section D means that the Board of Finance only has to appropriate taxpayer dollars so the town assessor can hire a contract assessor. According to the Board of Finance chairman, once the board gives that hard-earned money to the town assessor, who was appointed by the Board of Selectman, the Board of Finance's job is done. As usual, the Harry Truman buck goes round and round in Fairfield -- until it stops only on the taxpayer's checkbook.
It is long past time to send the Board of Finance into retirement and get this town a new form of government.