Auditor Nancy Yackee decided not to solicit bids.
WAUSEON - A rare order from the Ohio tax commissioner is in the mail to the Fulton County Commissioners, commanding them to release funds to the county auditor for the county real estate reappraisal that has been held up in a standoff between the two offices this summer.
The order from William W. Wilkins, which is only the third or fourth such order issued by the state tax commissioner in the past 10 years, was mailed yesterday, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
If commissioners receive the order by this afternoon, they likely will consider it in their Thursday morning meeting, Commissioner Paul Barnaby said. If the order arrives later, it probably will go on Monday's agenda.
Commissioners have refused to appropriate money for the reappraisal because Auditor Nancy Yackee did not put the $441,000 contract out for bids. However, the county commissioners must comply with an order from the state tax commissioner, Mr. Barnaby said.
The contract for the county real estate reappraisal, which is done every six years, is not required by law to go out for bids. It has been listed since 1993 among the exemptions in the Ohio Revised Code that calls for most public expenditures above $25,000 to be bid.
But it's the largest contract that the auditor's office makes and the commissioners say it's not good business to spend such a sum without checking prices with more than one vendor. There are 19 appraisal firms and five individual appraisers registered in Ohio to perform county appraisals.
Mrs. Yackee last week said putting the contract out for bids or even informally checking prices with other firms would take extra time and money and was "not necessary."
"I don't have to so I'm not going to," she had said, adding that the firm she chose - Appraisal Research Corp. of Findlay - has done a good job on other projects for the county.
She was planning early last week, she said, to meet with the commissioners before seeking an order. But by Friday she had decided against addressing the board and requested the order instead. County administrator Vond Hall said he had advised Mrs. Yackee that the commissioners would not appropriate money for the contract unless she got bids or presented them with an order.
Mrs. Yackee said Friday that she left messages with each of the three commissioners asking to talk with them one-on-one. But her mother-in-law died over the weekend and Mrs. Yackee is not expected to be back in the office until Wednesday, according to her staff.
Mr. Barnaby said yesterday he plans to tell Mrs. Yackee, in a one-on-one meeting if she wants, the bidding process was developed to help get the lowest price for the highest quality services. Even if the amount saved is small, he said it's important for public officials to use the process in spending taxpayer money.
"That's the way I see it," he said.
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