County seeks firm for revaluation
County commissioners and staff said they’re still looking for a firm to complete an upcoming property revaluation.
The Vance County Board of Commissioners properties committee on Monday reviewed companies who could complete the reassessment of county property values as required by state law at least every eight years. The next must be completed by Jan. 1, 2016.
At the board meeting June 2, Tax Administrator Porcha Brooks recommended the county go with Pearson Appraisal Services of Richmond, Virginia. The board tabled the recommendation with intentions to get more details about each company that submitted a proposal for the work.
Brooks said Monday she recommended Pearson because this would be her first revaluation with Vance County, and the firm is familiar with the area. Having done the county’s appraisal last year, the group helped her prepare for this year.
Pearson was one of three companies to respond to the county’s request for proposals. Its fees came in at $460,000 — about $60,000 more than the other two.
Brooks said the company agreed to bring the cost down to $434,000.
Chairwoman Deborah Brown and commissioner Dan Brummitt said they had doubts about using the company again because they were not effective during the appraisal process in 2008.
Brummitt said there were a large number of appeals as residents disputed the assessed values of their property, which stalled the process.
Brummitt suggested the committee look at the other proposals instead, such as the smaller Shackelford and Associates of Raleigh.
County Manger Jerry Ayscue said he was concerned that company’s experience. He said it had been in business less than 10 years performing revaluations for counties with fewer than 15,000 parcels.
Vance County has more than 26,000.
All committee members said they were hesitant about the third proposal from Tyler Technologies, which is headquartered in Texas; while the other firms had no time limit on appeal hearings, Tyler only covered informal and formal appeal processes for up to 40 days. Hearings that extended longer would cost an extra $500 to $650 a day.
Commissioners asked County Attorney Jonathan Care, Ayscue and Brooks to bring a final recommendation to their June 23 meeting after comparing the proposals and negotiating with each company.
“I don’t see a perfect solution here,” Ayscue said. “We will get together try to bring you all a recommendation, but we are in crunch time with the budget.”
Also during the meeting, the committee decided not to pursue buying the radio tower located at 220 S. Oliver Drive, Henderson.
Brian Short, Vance County’s 911 and emergency communications director, proposed the idea at Thursday’s budget work session as a solution to increased rental fees for using the tower.
Vance County’s radio frequency equipment has occupied the tower at a cost of about $3,000 a year since it was built.
This year, because other companies have upgraded their equipment and left the tower, Vance County is left a rental fee of $6,000.
Ayscue said he does not recommend the county buy the tower because it requires too much maintenance.
The committee agreed to do a study on the water tower on Warrenton Road instead, to determine whether it would be possible to move the equipment there in the coming years.
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