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Reassessment In Cumberland

CUMBERLAND – The request for proposals from Cumberland County for the complete general reassessment of real property during the 2013 year turned up two bids and one of those did not meet the terms, covenants, and conditions set in the RFP, according to County Administrator Vivian Giles during the August 14 Board of Supervisors meeting.

The County reserves the right to reject any or all of the proposals received and that's just what happened after the only meeting the criteria were presented. The supervisors agreed to throw the bid out and issue a new request for proposals during last week's Board meeting.

Supervisor Parker Wheeler, District Five, made a motion that the board reject the proposal received and issue another RFP.

According to Ms. Giles, the new proposals could be received back in enough time and it would not delay the reassessment process. She also said they would be for consideration by the board at the September meeting.

Wheeler's motion carried unanimously.

Board members rejected the bid received by Pearson's Appraisal Service, Inc, a firm that's worked within Cumberland for many years, after much discussion.

“Historically, Cumberland County has performed the reassessment every four years,” said Ms. Giles. “The information I've shared with you is the two proposals that I received. However, I will say that only the proposal submitted by Pearson's Appraisal Service, Inc. meets the criteria of the RFP because they are bonded and that was a requirement. The other company submitted a proposal and they have given two figures but neither one of which includes bonding-technically, therefore, they do not meet the criteria of the RFP and, therefore, the only proposal on the table that does meet the criteria is Pearson's. That is the company that the County has used in the past…”

The sealed bids were to be received by the County Administrator's Office and were read on Tuesday, July 26, according to the advertisement.

Supervisor Lloyd Banks, District Two, asked, “Is this the company that did the last reassessment?”

Ms. Giles, again, noted that Pearson's Appraisal Service was the company that conducted the last reassessment in Cumberland.

“I will tell you that the amount that is on the proposal for $15.90 per parcel is lower than what they charged last time. Last time, the proposal presented was $17.40 per parcel,” offered Ms. Giles.

Banks added, “I've personally heard a lot of complaints about the last appraisal that was done in the county…and we don't have any options but one. Is that what you are telling me?”

Ms. Giles noted that there were several alternative routes the board could choose such as rejecting everything and issuing another RFP.

The County Administrator also explained the County's two-step process, which occurs when a property owner wishes to appeal a reassessment.

The landowner first goes to the person that's conducted the appraisal with their concerns and then the second step is Cumberland's Board of Equalization.

Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, added, “Step two is a group of citizens on the equalization board that listens to the people. It's not just the company and it's not just the County. It's a group of citizens that's on the equalization board that can appeal to the citizens…”

According to Julie Phillips, chief deputy in the Commissioner of Revenue's Office, the appraisers normally begin research in the fall to start the groundwork and start going out to visit properties after the first of the year.

When asked by the board about the last process she said, “There are always going to be people who make appeals that are going to be denied but there were some that were changed and then some of them were not happy…and they still went to the Board of Equalization and at that point some of them were changed and some of them were still not changed.”