Rehoboth officials debate reassessment bids

City officials to interview competing firms
December 26, 2012

Rehoboth Beach officials are developing a five-year cost analysis for maintaining records related to a citywide property reassessment. Officials will also schedule interviews with two firms that submitted bids on the project.

Although the city has not yet made the decision to move ahead with reassessment, officials are weighing two bids: one by Rehoboth-based firm PTA/DelVAL and another by Connecticut-based Tyler Technologies.

PTA/DelVAL submitted the lowest bid, at $132,000 or $40 per parcel, while Tyler’s bid was $240,000, about $70 per parcel.

Mayor Sam Cooper said PTA/DelVAL has conducted reassessments for Ocean View and Milford, while Tyler has reassessed entire counties throughout the country. He compared the bids to a David and Goliath scenario with the small, locally based PTA/DelVAL competing with Tyler, a national firm.

Commissioner Stan Mills said PTA/DelVAL has already worked with city officials on commercial assessments and the company has been involved in the process since the beginning.

The city began exploring a reassessment when PTA/DelVAL estimated it could conduct a citywide reassessment at less than half the price the city had been quoted in previous attempts at reassessment. Rehoboth has not had a citywide property reassessment since 1968.

Commissioner Patrick Gossett said the commissioners should not base their decision on just cost. He said Tyler’s proposal offers better interaction with the public on the web with diagrams and photographs. Commissioners Lorraine Zellers and Pat Coluzzi said PTA/DelVAL's bid lacked a plan to communicate to the public how the reassessment will be conducted and how it will affect residents.

“I think we should look at the additional legs that Tyler offers,” Gossett said.

Mills said besides the initial reassessment, the city also should look at maintenance of the new computerized assessment records, which is part of the reassessment package. The city currently has all its property assessment information on cards stored at City Hall. He suggested doing a five-year cost/benefit analysis to weigh each company’s bid with what it will cost to maintain the system.

Gossett said he would put together the analysis, as well as participate in interviews with the two firms along with City Manager Greg Ferrese. No timetable was set on when the analysis and the interviews would be complete. Cooper has previously said reassessed property values would not be in place until the 2014 billings at the earliest.