Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Does Templeton have a Town Collector or a Tax Collector?

On Monday evening, April 23, 2018 at Town Hall, Conference Room, selectmen by way of the Town Administrator (part-time) stated Templeton has a Town Collector (result of a question by the Auditor during his presentation).

So off to research to see what available Town records state:

from Special Town Meeting - February 1, 2015:

Article 2. To see if the Town will vote, pursuant to M.G.L.c. 41, s.1B, to have its elected Collector of Taxes become an appointed Collector of Taxes of the Town, or to take any other action relative thereto.
On a motion duly made and seconded the Town voted, pursuant to M.G.L.c. 41, s.1B, to have its elected Collector of Taxes become an appointed Collector of Taxes of the Town to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

 Passed @ 7:14 

MAY 2, 2005 

Question 2. Shall the town vote to have its elected Tax Collector become an appointed Tax Collector of the town?                                       YES_____ NO____ 


Yes                                                                      369 312 681

No                                                                       264 193 457

Blanks                                                                   26   32   58 

TOTAL                                                              659 537 1196 

Apparently, a Town Collector has greater leeway in collection of receipts, so the collector could then collect not only real estate and personal property taxes, but sewer receipts as well, I would assume water and electric receipts also.

What the law says:

from the Division of Local Services:

Although a city/town collector has greater collection authority than a tax collector, their statutory duties and compliance standards are the same. 

 As a tax collector, the office possesses the authority to collect only real and personal property taxes, excises, betterments, and certain other charges added to and committed as taxes (MGL c. 60 sec. 1, 2). 

 As a city or town collector under a local acceptance statute (MGL c. 41 sec. 38A), the office has expanded authority to receive and collect all monies or accounts due a municipality. 

So, is there a word game going on in Town Hall, as in a Collector of taxes being called a Town Collector, presumably to make the case that sewer bills should be received in the Treasurer/Collector's office?  Did the selectmen have legal counsel (new) research to find the acceptance of Tax Collector or Town Collector statue vote from a past Town Meeting ? Is it possible selectmen are playing a word game (Collector of Taxes) to make the case we have a Town Collector. Either way, if selectmen try to have sewer bills paid in Town Hall for a "one stop shop" approach, as was quoted in the Gardner News by select board chairman John Caplis, will the effort follow suit with light & Water receipts being paid in Town Hall. It was presented that it is not a good idea to have the same person create the bills and collect the bills. (something about the goose and the gander comes to mind). Clearly, this requires more time to research the vote on which MGL was accepted creating the Tax Collector position.