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City votes to go with Vanguard for reappraisals

By Staff | Jul 5, 2013

The Rugby City Council voted Monday to go with a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company to complete state-mandated reappraisals of properties within the city.

Vanguard Appraisals, which is doing the same work for dozens of cities and counties in the state, has been hired to complete the job in 2015.

The estimate from Vanguard is at around $200,000 and will likely be budgeted at around $50,000 per year starting in 2014, according to city officals.

Council members Terry Wentz and Arden Warner both voted against awarding the job to Vanguard, citing similar reasons.

“I feel there’s going to have to be a cost reduction if it’s mandated in every city in North Dakota, I don’t feel like one company is going to do it all,” Warner said. “It’s like anything, competition is going to lower the price. The cost, the expense (is high). We’re talking a lot of dollars there.”

Wentz said he felt like more businesses offering the service might enter the market in coming years, potentially lowering the cost.

“I just didn’t feel we should jump in and hire someone right away,” Wentz said. “I would have liked to shop around or wait. It’s hard for me to spend $200,000 of the city’s money. I just don’t think there’s an urgency to jump on and sign a contract.”

Even the members who voted in favor did so somewhat begrudgingly.

The council has discussed the issue since fall of 2012. Another company gave an estimate to the city, but wouldn’t likely be able to complete it in one year like Vanguard said it will.

The council looked into alternatives including independent citizens doing the work, but were unable to find someone or another company to commit at a lower rate.

“The $200,000 was probably the cost that’s the going rate and they would get it done in a matter of months,” council president Arland Geiszler said. “I thought bite the bullet and go through and get the project done and not have the residents of Rugby involved in it for such a long period of time.”

Pierce County has also hired Vanguard to do the work and has the software for updating the tax information cards.

Vanguard is doing much of the reappraisal work in North Dakota and could only guarantee being able to complete the work being done in 2015 if Rugby signed on before other cities.

“We did do what I would consider due diligence in looking at alternatives to complete the process at lower cost,” council member Jim Hoffert said. “It appears at this point, this is the best option. Costs are only going to go up. To delay scheduling it would probably not be in the city’s best interest.”

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