Manchester's on Monday evening passed four resolutions that put in place the framework for property reassessments that will become effective for 2013.
Since the time reassessments were made about three years ago, the faltering economy has caused property values to change "drastically," said council president Craig Wallis.
"We're trying to be more proactive and fix this problem now before it becomes more of an issue," Wallis said. "A lot of towns are still figuring out how they're going to do it."
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 for the reassessment, according to a resolution.
"Martin [Lynch] is going to try to upkeep this to where our balances are pretty much what the markets tell us," Wallis said. "So it should be back in sync again when Martin [Lynch] gets done with this."
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 Monday night that stated even "the lowest bid substantially exceeds the cost estimate for this project."
Commercial, multi-family and industrial reassessments will be handled by Shrewsbury-based firm Gagliano and Company. The total cost of conducting those reassessments cannot exceed $37,500, according to a resolution passed by the council.
Business administrator Elena Zsoldos said that the reassessment process will begin "shortly." She told the meeting audience that "your taxes will be adjusted accordingly. Hopefully that will alleviate some of the disparity for some of the folks."
Council vice president Brendan Weiner said that the reassessments — as well as using the township's own assessor — could save taxpayers millions of dollars.
"This is in the best interest of the taxpayers. It's saving them a lot of money," he said. "We did our due diligence. We went out to bid. We wanted to see what our options were.
"We're fortunate enough to have a tax assessor that we can tap as a resource," Weiner said. "A lot of municipalities don't have a certified tax assessor that's able to do that type of work in-house."
Rather than completing reassessments every few years, the council plans to have Lynch stay on top of keeping property values accurate.
"This will be an ongoing project for Martin [Lynch] — to reassess on a yearly basis, so these types imbalances will not happen again in the future," Weiner said.