County stands behind decision to hire appraisal company - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County stands behind decision to hire appraisal company

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June 7, 2007

Albany - - Some Dougherty County taxpayers aren't happy with the work done by an Ohio company hired to evaluate properties. County leaders defend their decision. They say Tyler Technologies wasn't just the lowest bidder, but was the best company to handle the job.

Dougherty County hasn't had a full property re-evaluation like this one since 1963. In 2002, the county had a partial re-evaluation, meaning only some properties were assessed, but that didn't require a company to help do the appraisals. This year's evaluations did and the results have caused concern from many of you questioning just who is this company the county chose and why. 

Eighty-two year old Lucy Stuart is worried she'll have to dish out big bucks in property taxes since her home's value went up.

"I can't afford to keep on doing that and especially since they're going up on them," she says.

Many of you have expressed the same concerns in public forums and taxpayer's association meetings.

We heard some of you question why the county hired Tyler Technologies, also referred to as CLT, to do the job. 

Here are the bids county leaders chose from in December of 2005.

McCormick Consulting (Dawsonville, GA)         $1,500,000

Technical Appraisal Services (Soperton, GA)    $  980,165

Norman and Associates (Chattanooga, TN)       $   925,000   

Tyler Technologies, CLT (Dayton, OH)               $   868,950

"Do you think the recommendation was made because Tyler was the lowest bidder?" we asked Tax Director Denver Hooten.

"No, it's picked on best overall," she said.

Hooten adds that a committee of county department heads chose CLT based on their resources and ability to do the job.

We heard some of you question why the company hired local people, with two weeks training, to inspect and collect data on your properties.

Hooten says that's common and that the county is satisfied with the job they're doing.

Stuart doesn't plan to put up a fight, but she will appeal.

"I'm just going to fill out the letter they sent to you and send that in and write a little note on it, that's all."

In hopes she can come to a better understanding about her property taxes.

Earlier, we told you about a tax payer's association's claim that if 1900 property owners representing at least five percent of the total tax digest appeal their assessments, it would prevent the county from finalizing the tax digest. Hooten says that's true only *if* that number of owners still aren't satisfied *after* the appeal process.

She hopes the county can come to an agreement with many of those people who appeal.

When you appeal, the Board of Tax Assessors can change your appraisal or leave it as is. If you don't like their decision, your appeal goes to the Board of Equalization and ultimately you can take your case to Superior Court.

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