Twp. board hires new appraiser over objections

FLINT TWP. — Two township trustees are not budging on their view that hiring a new appraiser is an unwarranted expense.

Trustees Belenda Parker and Barb Vert opposed a hiring proposal at the August 17 board meeting but were outvoted 4-2. Trustee George Menoutes was absent.

The board accepted a recommendation to hire an applicant who was described as an experienced assessment administrator with Michigan Advanced Assessing Officer Certification, formerly called Level 3, according to Bill Fowler, township assessor.

Fowler said there were four very good applicants for the position.

Parker and Vert both said they did not object to the recommended candidate but have argued consistently that the township board is not following advice from a Feasibility Study conducted in 2012 that looked at cost-savings by merging services with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township.

“I can’t support this,” Vert said. “The reason is we have a Feasibility Study that made it pretty clear what we should be doing in that department.”

Fowler said that was a false assumption.

Vert responded that is how she interprets what she read and that the township “paid good money for.”

The township paid one-third of a $39,000 fee for a study that analyzed shared service possibilities in the police, fire, building and assessing departments. It was conducted by Mark Nottley of Ann Arbor-based Municipal Consulting Services.

Findings include streamlining the assessing department by outsourcing all in-house services except clerical – a move that Nottley said could save Flint Township about $185,500.

Fowler elaborated that many of the study’s criticisms of the assessment department have been addressed and resolved. That includes reorganizing, reassigning duties and training clerical staff to perform duties that formerly took up the time of the professional staff, he said.

The newly hired appraiser will not be an assessor but will work out in the field daily working on a five-year plan to update residential, commercial and industrial inspection, Fowler said.

Township Supervisor Miller added that Flint Township and the City of Flint are the only two municipalities in Genesee County that require a level four assessor. Swartz Creek and Mundy Township do not, making it difficult to contract jointly.

Fowler said that in the case of hiring one person to serve all three municipalities, he or she would have to have the highest level certification required.

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