Columbus Council has approved plans to extend Tyler Technologies’ contract with the city in order to avoid problems with the 2018 tax digest.
The additional services addendum passed with a 6-4 vote Tuesday, one week after a Nov. 28 council meeting, during which four councilors voted against the proposal.
Those voting in favor at Tuesday’s meeting were Skip Henderson, Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson, Jerry “Pops” Barnes, Mike Baker, Gary Allen and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner-Pugh. Those opposed were Bruce Huff, Glenn Davis, Judy Thomas and Walker Garrett.
Allen, who voted against the request at the Nov. 28 meeting, reversed his vote on Tuesday; but not before grilling Deputy Chief Tax Appraiser John Williams about the assessment process and contract with Tyler.
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The addendum allows the Muscogee County Tax Assessor’s Office to hire Tyler at $29 a parcel to review up to 3,600 parcels for sales, transfers and permits from January through March of 2018. The additional work is expected to cost the city about $104,000.
The Texas-based vendor implemented the 2017 countywide property revaluation/software conversion project that resulted in significant hikes in assessments, some as much as 1,000 percent. It is the same company being considered by some city officials for a new comprehensive court management system.
Tax Assessors said additional workers are needed to help with backlog resulting from the unprecedented 10,906 appeals. They said the 2018 tax digest would be in jeopardy without Tyler’s help.
At the Nov. 28 meeting, Chief Appraiser Betty Middleton said Tyler would allow the employee who managed the countywide assessment/software conversion project to stay an extra 20 days at no cost to the city. That’s in addition to the help being hired.
The company had originally proposed doing the work for $30 a parcel, but city councilors had asked tax assessors to renegotiate the fees considering Tyler’s role in the controversial assessments. The company discounted the price by $1 per parcel.