Manchester's this week appropriated the funding necessary to proceed with a townwide property reassessment.
The council appropriated $175,000 for the project which will allow the township's tax assessor and an outside contractor to complete the revaluation — a portion of which will begin to be reflected in the 2013 tax cycle. The money is deemed a "special emergency appropriation," according to the approved ordinance.
"Basically, this sets us up to borrow money from ourselves to repay over the next three years," said Council President Craig Wallis.
Rather than use a contractor, the council appointed the township's tax assessor, Martin Lynch, to take on the extra work. Lynch will do the assessment work outside of his normal duties for the township and will be paid $20,000 per year for the reassessment, according to a resolution passed in February.
Commercial, multi-family and industrial reassessments will be completed for 2013 and will be handled by Shrewsbury-based firm Gagliano and Company. The total cost of conducting those reassessments cannot exceed $37,500, according to the council.
The emergency funds will be used to pay for the assessors, any overtime, paper and mailings, Wallis said.
"We figured that $175,000 is a high value, because we really don't know what the overtime is going to be," he said.
The township normally does not reassess for "10 or 15 years," Wallis said, but values have become so skewed because of the economic downturn that more consistent revaluations are necessary.
"We're going to be on a schedule that is much tighter so we don't have those fluctuations," he said. "It's going to be a ton more stable because I think we've going as low as we can go. Everything is going to go up or stay the same."
Resident Hank Glenn questioned the timeframe of the revaluation. Wallis said that the assessor would like to complete 20 percent of the town each year, meaning that all of Manchester will be revaluated in five years.
The first year of assessment work will be "the peak," said Township Attorney Steven Secare.
"I can almost guarantee," he said.
Since the time reassessments were made about three years ago, the faltering economy has caused property values to change "drastically," Wallis said in February when the framework for reassessments was put in place.
Bids solicited by the township for assessors ranged from $360,000 to $1.3 million, Wallis said. Those bids were rejected when the council passed a resolution in February stating that even "the lowest bid substantially exceeds the cost estimate for this project."