Board of Assessment Appeals – Debra Gernhardt

I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Assessment Appeals and I’m now seeking election for this position and would like to tell you why I’d be a good fit.

I’ve been a resident of the Town of Salem my entire life (60+ years), a 4th generation in town, and my grandchildren are the 6th.

Back in 1988 I became the Town of Salem’s first full time paid EMT with the emergency services. I’d take the ambulance to the Town Hall and be on stand-by in the event of an emergency, while assisted all the offices durning their “busy seasons”, this gave me the knowledge of how local government works as a whole. After one year of doing that, the position of the Assistant Assessor became available, so I’d still park the ambulance there and filled that position. In 1995 I became a certified Assessor and took over that job upon the retirement of my predecessor. I have 30 years of experience in town government and 29 of them working in the assessment field. I’m currently the Assessor for the Town of Hebron and have been employed there since 2001.

I’ve always joked that “I worked with the two certainties in life death & taxes and if you had a heart attach over your assessment, you were still getting me”. Working in both fields did work very well together and I enjoyed every day. I need to get self satifaction out of my jobs; the emergency services was helping people, and so I decided on the assessment side to be able to explain what I do, how I do it, and why I do it, so property owners have a better understanding of those dreaded taxes we all have to pay.

With my experience, I feel it gives me the ability to explain; how the assessment process works, how properties are assessed, and what a property owner can do if they’ve been wrongly assessed resulting in their taxes being too high.

Salem is a wonderful town, in fact I think it’s more like a large family. We all work together and I’m very proud of our Town and it’s progress throughout the years. Thank you for considering me for the Board of Assessment Appeals.