LEWISBORO, N.Y. – When Joann Vasi and her husband Sal moved from New York City to a house in Goldens Bridge in 1974, it was a bit of a culture shock for her. Vasi was used to the hustle and bustle of the city, not the pastoral calm of the northern Westchester suburbs.
“I was shocked,” she said. “Living in the city you could get a newspaper at midnight. Here, they rolled up the sidewalk at 6 p.m.”
Vasi not only got used to her new environs, she grew to love them.
“We still live in the same house,” she said. “And I’ve seen a lot of changes.”
Vasi has seen those changes from an interesting prospective. She’s been a Lewisboro town employee for the past 30 years and the receiver of taxes for 28 of them. Now, her post is up for re-election this November and she’s decided it’s time to close the ledger books on her tax-collecting career. She won’t seek re-election.
Vasi, who has a background in banking and advertising, began in the town assessor’s office in 1983 after answering an ad in the newspaper.
“Two years later I was approached by the Republicans to run for receiver of taxes,” she said.
Vasi hasn’t looked back since. She’s served seven four-year terms.
“When I came, there were no computer systems. Everything was out-sourced,” she said. “Now, I produce the tax rolls, bills for the town and school district and the lien list. And I collect the water bills for the Oak Ridge water district."
The town itself has gone through innumerable changes since Vasi first took office.
“There was no traffic light in Cross River or in Vista at Route 35 and 123,” she recalled. “When we first moved in Interstate 684 wasn’t even complete. Lewisboro didn’t have any of the housing developments like Indian Hill, Arbor Hills, Michele Estates and Oak Ridge.”
When the 911 emergency service came to town, none of the homes had numbers. That situation had to be remedied and Vasi took on the challenge.
“I was asked to do it and it took about six months,” she said. “Then I produced a map and gave copies to the fire districts and ambulance corps.”
Vasi said she’ll miss the job because it has helped her get to know just about everyone in the community.
“I like dealing with people and with numbers,” she said. “I feel bad when people get upset with me, but I know they are upset with their circumstances and you can’t take it personally. I think I’ve seen everyone in town at least once.”
Last week, the Town Board issued Vasi a proclamation congratulating her on her impending retirement and noting her long list of accomplishments during her 30-year tenure as a town employee.