RIDGEWAY – Barbara Klatt is retiring is Ridgeway town clerk on Dec. 31. On Tuesday, many town residents stopped by Town Hall to congratulate her on her career, and to thank her for her service.
“We always came out of here with results,” said resident Mark Eaton. “Everything was taken care of.”
His wife Pat said Klatt has been an ideal person serving as town clerk. She is friendly with the public and can handle the many duties with the job.
“She is a really nice person and I’ve always enjoyed talking with her,” Mrs. Eaton said. “She does a real nice job.”
Klatt has served as town clerk for nearly 23 years. The job became increasingly complicated as the town added water districts and the state demanded more with reporting for hunting and fishing licenses, and other transactions.
“Barb has fantastic knowledge and experience,” said Brian Napoli, the town supervisor the past 12 years. “It has been a pleasure to work with her. She is insightful and funny, just a wonderful lady.”
Karen Kaiser, the deputy town clerk, was elected to succeed Klatt.
“She is highly educated in all aspects of town clerk,” Kaiser said. “She knows the right thing and she is a nice person who always has the best interest of the town at heart.”
Klatt isn’t coasting into retirement. She has one more tax billing cycle to get through. She will help prepare 3,200 tax bills next month. They all need to be sorted, and some are sent to escrow accounts and there are third party notifications. (Kaiser gets to do the 1,200 water bills in January for 13 water districts.)
Klatt said computers have helped the town clerk do the many tasks. When she started, hunting and fishing licenses were done by hand or with a typewriter. Now they go into a state database. (Klatt said the state website can be temperamental.)
The town clerk’s office also handles about 900 dog licenses a year, and numerous records – death certificates, marriage licenses and birth certificates. The clerk gives out the license for charitable gaming, handles payroll processing for several town departments, and attends the Town Board meetings and keeps the minutes.
Klatt said she is grateful for the opportunity.
“I loved serving the people of Ridgeway,” Klatt said. “The people were the reason I kept going. There was a lot of laughter. They brought so many stories with them.”
There was an open house at the Town Hall on Tuesday, where residents were urged to stop by and see Klatt. She also received citations or commendations for her service from Congressman Chris Collins, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and the Orleans County Legislature.