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July 12, 2006

Town Assessor Resigns


In the aftermath of a recent property tax reassessment that rocked Southampton Town and left residents reeling, Brenda Noa, Southampton's sole tax assessor, has resigned.

But Noa, who has held the position for 27 years, said her decision was not based on the recent rash of complaints and grievances which have flooded her office since the most recent update left countless residents questioning the spike in the assessed value of their properties and demanding answers.

"People are concerned about their taxes," she said. "They're taxpayers; I'm a taxpayer, too. I don't blame them."

Instead, Noa said her resignation was rooted in her resolve to focus her energies on her two young children Nicole and Andrew, and her husband Peter. After completing the last update, Noa said she knew that it was time to resign. "I wanted time for myself and my family."

Although her appointed term was not due to expire until September 30, 2007, Noa said Southampton Town Supervisor Skip Heaney and the town board have appointed an acting assessor, Lisa Goree.

In a recent town board work session, Heaney referenced an email Noa had sent to her colleagues, informing them of her decision to step down. Heaney said Noa had waged an internal war between family responsibilities with work demands and ultimately, her family emerged victorious.

A recent town-wide reassessment sparked fury and sent scores of residents to the streets as they waited for hours in various locations to file grievances.

And, turning the heat up a notch under the simmering kettle of discontent, during his recent campaign, Westhampton Beach Trustee Tim Laube and his Hurricane Party running mates, mayoral candidate John Roland and Barbara Ramsay, all of whom were defeated, announced they were bringing a lawsuit against Southampton Town.

At the heart of the class action suit burns the smoking question of why residential districts of the town have been reassessed while commercial districts have not.

But Noa insists her resignation has nothing to do with the uproar. And only days after handing in her walking papers, Noa has clearly left the constantly ringing phones and perpetually peeved residents back at the office and traded in tumultuous days for a taste of tranquility.

As her children's laughter echoed in the background during a phone interview on Sunday, Noa revealed she's reveling in her newfound free time: "I enjoyed having the week off. I did a lot of gardening and got a lot of yard work done," she said.

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