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Janet Long Retires

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GREENSBORO – Town Clerk, Kim Greaves threw a well-attended party at the United Church of Christ for retiring Collector of Delinquent Taxes Janet Long on the afternoon of June 5.

Long has played a big role in almost everything related to finances in Greensboro for the 50 years since she returned to town after travels that took her across the U.S. and sailing to the Marshall Islands.

Well-wishers at the party shared their sometimes warm, sometimes funny and always appreciative stories of Long’s good, though often firm, demeanor.

Eleanor Guare shared that, as a new Greensboro resident, she realized she’d almost missed the deadline for getting her tax payment in. She slipped the payment under the door not long after closing time, expecting all would be well as she’d come to expect in other places she’d lived. Long, however, wouldn’t accept the payment as being on-time, recording it as late and assessing a non-negotiable penalty.

Cake at June 5 gathering in Greensboro’s Fellowship Hall to recognize Janet Long’s many years of service as Greensboro’s Collector of Delinquent Taxes. The event was organized by Greensboro Town Clerk Kim Greaves with the help of the Greensboro Walking Ladies.

Despite what might seem an unacceptable outcome for most, Guare recounted the tale with friendly good-humor.

Long has worked for the Town of Greensboro in one capacity or another since 1987. She has also handled accounting duties for almost every other organization in town, reporting that one year, she recalls receiving eight tax forms reporting income.

She and Tim Nisbet shared stories of her election each year at town meeting, where Nisbet mistakenly refers to a vote for the “delinquent tax collector” and she must correct him because she’s running to be the “collector of delinquent taxes.”

Long moved with her family to Greensboro at 11, where her mother, Helen had been born in a home just below the current Greensboro Post Office. She remained in Greensboro through high school, graduating in 1953 from the building now housing the town clerk’s office.

After a year “hating every minute” of college, her parents sent her off to Katherine Gibbs School in Boston. There she learned secretarial skills that helped her earn her way in Dallas, where she moved with two friends following a random choice on a U.S. map.

Two years later she moved to Hartford, Conn., where her work at General Insurance earned her an opportunity to train as a computer programmer. She recalls computers then being so rare she needed to travel from Hartford to New York’s Wall Street for access to a computer that her programs could be tested on.

By 1958, her programming skills took her to San Francisco for eight years, then Hawaii for another eight. There her husband built a boat, intending to sail around the world. Not entirely certain that was the life she wanted, “I got on,” she says.

They made it to the Marshall Islands, intending to stay for one month. Five months later, their plan to continue around the world was abandoned and the boat was sold.

Long says, “We came to Greensboro for a vacation in 1976 and I’ve been here ever since.”

Enjoying her party, she and others tried to count the positions she’s held with town organizations.

She has been treasurer of the Greensboro Historical Society, Willey’s Store, the Greensboro Free Library, the Greensboro Association, the Greensboro Fire District, the United Church of Christ and Mountain View Country Club.

Only partway through the list, Long said, “I’m tired!”

photo by Hal Gray
At a June 5 gathering, Janet Long (left) was recognized as she retired after many years as Greensboro’s collector of delinquent taxes. Greensboro Town Clerk Kim Greaves (right) organized the recognition with help from the Greensboro Walking Ladies  at Greensboro’s Fellowship Hall.

She’s also been treasurer of the beach committee, Summer Music from Greensboro, the Notheast Kingdom Chorus, the Greensboro High School Alumni Association and the Greensboro Ladies Walking Society.

Others added that her home serves as the Greensboro book emporium, where the annual historical society book sale happens, and the place where important Greensboro things are often stored in her garages, which explains why her green Subaru is always parked outside no matter the weather.

Despite her announced retirement, on June 10, the Greensboro town website still showed Long as collector of delinquent taxes.

Long says she hasn’t figured out how to retire from her only other remaining job, as treasurer of Greesboro’s United Church of Christ . . . yet.

Whenever that happens, her passion for bridge is likely to keep her busy.

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