Recount Sought in Derby Tax Collector Race

DERBY - The race for the Derby Tax Collector was very close with the challenger winning by two votes. Derby Town Clerk Nicole Daigle, who has served the town as the Delinquent Tax Collector since 2006, has officially asked for a recount. Normally a request for a recount would go to the town clerk, but in this case it went to Assistant Town Clerk Nancy Gosselin, who is the presiding officer. The town’s board of civil authority, which is the justices of the peace, will conduct the recount Monday evening.Mary Ann Tetreault, who is also an assistant town clerk working for Daigle, came out as the winner Tuesday. Voter turnout was high at 33 percent; far more than the town anticipated. The town ran out of ballots and had to make new ones. Seventy six ballots were counted by hand.Of the 1,049 people that voted, only 1,047 ballots were counted. Daigle is asking for a recount because the race was so close and two ballots were not accounted for, she said.Daigle expressed some concern about what she feels is a public misconception about her pay. Besides serving as the town clerk, Daigle is the town treasurer and school treasurer. For those three positions, in 2011, Daigle earned a salary of $38,306. The average pay for the delinquent tax collector position varies from year to year. In 2011, the pay was $23,000 Daigle, said. Over the last four years, the average pay for the position was $25,000, Daigle said. The pay is an eight percent penalty assessed to late taxpayers and the money comes in as the taxes are paid.In her time as the delinquent tax collector, Daigle developed a system to help those who fell behind to get caught up by paying monthly payments. She feels the system was successful with most making up the missed payments.Daigle handles about $8 millon annually for the town. A recent audit showed her books to be off by 30 cents.Tetreault, who has worked for the town for eight years, said Wednesday that she is a bit nervous about the new position but looking forward to it. Tetreault has experience handling finances. In addition to her duties as assistant town clerk, she runs her own business.Tetreaut says she wants to work with people who fall behind on their property taxes and give them more options. Many people had suggested Tetreault seek the position, Tetreault said, and she decided to go for it. She knows that some other towns handle delinquent taxes a bit differently than Derby and she wants to explore some of those options for the town.Tetreault also says she will give half of the money she collects to Derby organizations.