A Board of Tax Assessors member told the Carroll County Board of Commissioners Thursday that it is in the best interest of taxpayers that the county hire a full-time commercial property appraiser at $60,000 to $75,000 a year.
In creating the budgeted position, James Fulford said the county would not have to enter into another three-year contract with GMASS, the company called in to assist last year when it was discovered that the county had not undergone the correct property assessment procedure for nearly 20 years.
With today being the tax deadline, Carroll County Tax Commissioner Vickie Bearden expects her office to be busy to the point where parking at the county administration building might be a problem.
At Thursday’s BOC work session, Fulford was joined by Ed Federer, chairman of the Board of Tax Assessors, and Renee Parmer, Carroll County’s chief appraiser, to stress the importance of having the commercial property assessor on staff.
“We do not have a commercial real estate appraiser on staff, which is why we contracted the recent review and reassessment of our commercial/industrial properties to GMASS,” Fulford said. “Due to a state requirement, the BOA must review all properties. Since we do not have anyone qualified internally to complete this task, we asked GMASS to prepare a quote to continue to provide these services over the next three years.”
Carroll County has approximately 2,734 commercial properties, and the total three-year contract with GMASS would be $205,000 -- $55,000 for the first two years, then $95,000 in the third year. The increase in the third year is due to GMASS updating the commercial tables which has to be done every third year.
“We feel it is in the best interest of our taxpayers to hire a full-time commercial appraiser,” Fulford said. “However, due to time constraints and filing deadlines by the state, we are forced to recommend accepting the contract from GMASS for the next three years.
“We would like to address hiring a commercial appraiser or an individual that has the qualifications to become the country’s commercial appraiser during the upcoming discussions for the 2108-2019 fiscal year. In doing so, this will give us time to review or modify the job description and interview qualified candidates. Once an individual is hired, they can shadow the GMASS staff and continue to get proper credentials, if necessary, to become our dedicated commercial real estate appraiser. This position could also prove valuable by allowing the chief appraiser to reallocate certain duties to this person.”
Parmer said there are many elements to be considered when doing commercial property appraisals. One aspect of it is aerial photography and that has not been done in Carroll County since 2010. She said that could cost thousands of dollars to do and she agreed that the mapping system is a bit antiquated.
Commissioner Trent North asked if the department will be able to meet the state demands by Dec. 31. Parmer said that if it doesn’t it will have to roll over into the new year.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Marty Smith said the county charged the Board of Assessors to come up with a plan and that he feels they offered a “very good plan” that at least deserves looking into.