Kent County Expanding Services

August 11, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDSKentCounty has agreed to perform a trio of tasks for the city and may begin offering at least one of those services to other municipalities in the future.

County commissioners ratified an agreement that will have the Kent Equalization Bureau reappraise the 5,000 commercial and industrial properties in the city. In addition, Kent will have the same department handle much of the land division activities the city previously did, such as processing applications for splitting residential and commercial parcels in the city.

"I think it's a good fit. We can use these records, too," said Roger Morgan, KentCounty chairman.

The county will also provide IT services to the city's 61st District Court, which is located in the Kent County Courthouse at

180 Ottawa Ave. NW

The largest of the three contracts is the reappraisal agreement. It has the city paying the county $251,455 a year for the work that is expected to take two years to complete, along with $8,514 for a one-time start-up cost.

"The city will be paying full cost with this contract," said Mary Swanson, assistant county administrator.

The county will hire two full-time appraisers at a cost for both of $130,173 a year to get the properties reappraised within the 24-month time frame. A state mandate requires the city to reassess the properties.

The city will pay the county $25,576 annually for the land division services and $61,500 this year for IT services at the court. The city's IT cost for the court soared by 106 percent during the recently completed fiscal year, and the city said its new agreement with the county will save it a "considerable amount of money."

CountyAdministrator and Controller Daryl Delabbio said the county was speaking with other public officials about conducting appraisal services in their communities.

"This is the first of what we hope may be more in the future," he said of the agreement with the city.

And County Commissioner Dick Vander Molen thought there might be more services that the county could do for the city in the coming years.

"We've taken a number of things off their plate and put them on our plate," he said. "Maybe there are more to come."    

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