WHITE LAKE, NY — At a special meeting of the Bethel town board on Nov. 8, the board voted four to one for a resolution to gain access to the checking account used by tax collector Debra Gabriel …
WHITE LAKE, NY — At a special meeting of the Bethel town board on November 8, the board voted four to one for a resolution to gain access to the checking account used by tax collector Debra Gabriel for the collection of taxes. The vote was necessary to allow the accounting firm of Cooper Arias, LLP to perform an audit on the tax collector’s activity for 2019, which the board previously asked them to do.
Before the Nov. 5 election, it was not clear if Gabriel would accept the tax collector position again, if voters voted her back into office. After changing her position on the question several times, just before the election she said she would serve if elected. Voters returned her to the position on an unofficial vote tally of 639 to 137 against a write-in candidate.
Town supervisor Dan Sturm has expressed concerns with several tax matters that arose in 2019. He said there was $1,000 missing from the payment of one taxpayer. Gabriel earlier told the board that she did not know where the money went and that she paid the $1,000 shortage out of her own pocket. At the meeting, Sturm said he wanted the auditing firm to investigate the issue. There are also other issues Sturm said he wants to be investigated, including three taxpayers who were assessed late fees but had paid their taxes on time. He said another taxpayer had a receipt that he paid his taxes, but the money had not been applied to his property.