On Monday, May 12, 2014, Milford City Council voted unanimously to void letters sent to property owners whose property values were adjusted based on analyzed market and adjusted numbers rather than improvements made since 2012. The decision was based on information gathered at a May 1, 2014 Finance Committee meeting.
In 2011, the city eliminated the full-time assessor’s position and hired a professional assessment firm in order to reduce costs for assessing property each year. Tyler Technology Corporation was hired to perform the assessments at a cost of $27,000 each year, and the contract provided that the company would assess ten percent of properties every year in order to reach the 100 percent required by the end of ten years. During the meeting of the finance committee, Paul Miller, CPE/CTA Project Manager for Tyler Technology explained the process to those in attendance.
Councilman Garrett Grier said that he thought the activity was more for data collection and was unaware that letters would be sent to property owners with increased assessment amounts. It was his understanding that Tyler would assess ten percent of the properties each year, enter that information into a database and council would then reevaluate every ten years in order to determine the numbers that would be put into place.
In order to keep property owners from being notified on an annual basis, City Council members voted to amend the contract with Tyler Technology. The company will continue to perform inspectioins and handle improvements, changing land data as required. The company will also continue to value all new improvements and matters related to building permits and/or demolitions. Tyler will continue to visit ten percent of properties in the city, including new construction and sales verification.
“This annual field work will prevent the City of Milford from ever needing a city wide data collection effort again at the time of the 10-year assessment anticipated to be in 2012,” Councilman Pikus said. “The goal is to avoid a million dollar price tag because it wasn’t done.” City Manager Richard Carmean said that not every property in the city will be assessed, and that single family dwellings would have the most changes. Mr. Carmean said there were approximately 3,800 single family homes in the city.
In other city business, City Solicitor David Rutt informed the council that there is a clause in all sales agreements for lots sold in the business park allowing a purchaser to offer the land back to the city for the amount they paid if they do not build on the property within two years. Mr. Rutt explained that Progressive Devices purchased an end lot for $145,000 and had decided to offer it back to council.
“I think we need to look into what we have out there,” Councilman Garrett Grier said. “I think there are quite a few lots out there we could buy for $30,000 or $35,000 instead of spending $145,000 for this one.” Mr. Rutt explained that if the city did not purchase the property, it could be sold on the open market, although the city still had final say in what was placed on the land.
“This is actually a really good lot,” Mr. Carmean explained. “I currently have a medical practice looking for a lot with frontage, and this might be perfect for them.” Mr. Carmean agreed to review all lots that had been purchased to determine if council should exercise their right for purchase in the business park.