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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Stories > Politics

‘Yes, I am!'

Former Bethel Tax Collector will take oath if she wins

Nov 1, 2019

By Patricio Robayo - staff writer

By: Contributed Photo
Former Bethel Tax Collector, Debra Gabriel, will take the oath if she wins.
BETHEL — After the Democrat reported that Debra Gabriel would not take an oath of office of the Bethel Tax Collector if she won, she had another change of heart.
“I've had huge support from people, and they want me to take my oath,” Gabriel said.
She will be running against write-in candidate Susan Brown Otto, who entered the race after Gabriel said she was retiring from the position.
Gabriel had previously said she had all intentions of continuing her work as a tax collector after retirement, but after a year of stress in dealing with the Bethel Town Board, she said she would not take the oath of office if she won another term.
The Town Board has attempted to exercise greater oversight of the Tax Collector's Office after an audit revealed that the tax collector was not able to reconcile some tax payments.
Gabriel has said in the past that mistakes were made, but not intentional, and she made every effort to reconcile the accounts.

She said after it was announced that she would not take the oath if she won, her supporters had encouraged her to reconsider and take the oath. When asked if she would take the oath, she said, “Yes, I am!”
The tipping point this year was when a few Bethel taxpayers went to the town board stating they had paid their taxes on time but were still charged late fees.
Sturm said previously that he felt there was negligence on the part of the tax collector in not applying the money to the right parcels.
The town board had voted in their October 23 meeting to have Cooper Arias, LLP, do an immediate audit of the tax collector's office.
A special town board meeting will be held on November 8 at 10 a.m., at Dr. Duggan Community Center to discuss the tax collection for the town and to authorize Cooper Arias, LLP, and Dan Sturm to access the Bethel Tax Collector's checking account, which is an official town account but remains under Gabriel's name.

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