CHESHIRE -- A town member of the Board of Assessors recently received a prestigious award given annually to one regional assessor for "outstanding and dedicated service."
Everett "Gus" Martin, a Northern Berkshire assessor of 54 years and present member of the town board, visited Tuesday's Cheshire Selectmen's meeting with his Catherine E. "Kay" Pardee Memorial Award in tow.
"I started around 1960," Martin said in an interview with the Transcript on Tuesday. "I've enjoyed my time, and worked in many Northern Berkshire towns, but Cheshire is my hometown."
Martin shared the story of how he got into the trade.
"My grandfather was an assessor and my father was an assessor," he said. "It was my neighbor who told me, after my father died, that I needed to become an assessor."
Established in 1967, the annual recipient of the award is voted on by the Northeastern Regional Association of Assessing Officers (NRAAO) Executive Board. Martin is the secretary of NRAAO.
The award is named for a former Orange, Conn., assessor who served as the first woman president of the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers and, like Martin, secretary of NRAAO.
Selectmen and Town Administrator Mark Webber praised Martin for the accomplishment.
He was called a "boundless resource of knowledge and information" and "a dedicated member of the Board of Assessors" who's "always done what he felt was fair and just for the people of Cheshire."
In other business, Selectmen took issue Tuesday with National Geographic magazine.
According to Selectman Paul Astorino, the magazine was in town two days in late 2012 in order to photograph and interview 113-year-old resident Bernice "Bennie" Madigan, one of the world's oldest people.
"They kept her so busy they almost killed her," Astorino said. " ... Then she's not even mentioned in the article."
Astorino recommended registering a complaint with the magazine. It had been presumed that Madigan, born in 1899, would be featured on the cover of the issue.
"There were so many people in Cheshire who bought a subscription to National Geographic just for that issue," said resident Karmen Mitchell.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Selectmen and the Water Department agreed to split the cost of a $15,000 federal assessment made necessary by the ongoing water metering project in town. Water meters are being installed in residents' homes and the project is expected to see completion sometime this year.
Borrowing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for the project triggered the new federal assessment. Selectmen said the town will benefit by keeping current its standing with the federal government.
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