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The Tonawanda Common Council on Tuesday appointed Patricia Bacon as city assessor for a six-year term, beginning Oct. 1.

Bacon, who has been the interim assessor since July, will earn $38,000 a year.

Before the meeting, the Council briefly debated holding the appointment until city officials investigate the possibility of consolidating the department with Erie County. Grand Island has a similar arrangement with the county, in which a county employee works out of the town assessor's office two days a week.

"I have no problem with the individual," Council Member Ronald Pilozzi said in an informal session. "I have a problem with the system. If we get a person for six years, does that impair our ability (to consolidate)?"

However, Mayor Alice Roth considered consolidating earlier this summer and discovered it would not be cost-effective for the city. While Grand Island has a large number of employees in the department, Tonawanda only has two, limiting its ability to service residents during the week.

Council President Carleton Zeisz said the Council moved against working with Erie County because the city would still need to hire at least another full-time employee to work in the assessor's office every day, in addition to paying Erie County for the service.

"We felt we needed two full-time people and one of them being the assessor," Administrative Assistant Donald Witkowski said. "It turned out to be cheaper."

After a brief meeting in executive session, the Council decided to hire Bacon permanently.

Witkowski said the state approved Bacon's qualifications in July. Before becoming assessor, Bacon was a longtime clerk for the city's department.

"We decided in this case it would be better to do an internal promotion," he said.

Bacon thanked the Council for the vote of confidence. Bacon must complete a basic certification-training program with the state within three years to maintain her position with the city.

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