NARRAGANSETT – Northeast Revaluation Group (NRG) will conduct the town’s triennial property revaluations despite being the second-lowest bidder to complete the task, which includes the measure and list revaluation of all local taxable land, buildings and improvements. The town council unanimously approved the $348,000 bid award at a meeting earlier this week during which David Dolce, Narragansett Tax Assessor, explained why NRG was selected to complete the job despite not offering the lowest amount of money to do so.
“Ultimately, my responsibility is to get to what I call the finish line,” he said. “And the finish line is accomplishing the things that I feel are important to the town of Narragansett. That, to me, really comes down to valuing equity.”
The town completes its comprehensive property revaluation every three years, as mandated by the state, and had previously employed Vision Government Solutions (VGS) for the task. However, in its most recent revaluation year, 2017, the town elected to switch to NRG and ditch VGS, this coming after a 2014 controversy surrounding what some believed was the overvaluing of properties in Bonnet Shores.
“We switched to Northeast Revaluation from Vision Appraisal,” said town council president Matthew Mannix Monday. “Part of the reason we’re choosing [NRG], even though they are not the lowest bidder, but the recommendation is for them because they’re familiar with our system, we had some frustrations with Vision Appraisal, and things along those lines.”
The revaluation is anticipated to be completed in December of 2020. The request for proposals was published in this newspaper, as well as posted to the town’s website and other outlets, and solicited three responses from vendors. The offers included Tyler Technologies, Inc.’s $325,000 proposal to complete the project, the lowest bidder, NRG’s $348,000 offer and VGS’ bid of $356,000.
“Although Tyler Technologies, Inc. appears to be the lowest bidder, they showed limited experience in the RI and Narragansett market in the past five years and has limited staff experience,” wrote Dolce in a memo to council members that accompanied the motion. The tax assessor expanded on his comments and reasoning Monday, stating he intensely quizzed the three bidders on their capabilities to perform the task in Narragansett and concluded he was recommending the town stay with NRG.
“The primary reason for that is software, as anyone knows that’s getting a new software system, they’re very complicated,” said Dolce. “With revaluations, it’s software and it’s also personnel and their familiarity with the town. There are many issues that I’m looking to address and ultimately that’s my goal. While there were certainly other options in this case, I felt that with what we were dealing with in terms of software, I felt that NRG would provide the best results, value and equity for the town.”
Councilor Patrick Murray said he took issue with NRG.
“I’m not a real big fan of NRG,” he said. “For instance, if you’re buzzing around on there and you see a certain property, and you go to print it, it doesn’t print the information that’s displayed on the screen on your computer. It pulls out certain information. I finally got to a point where I just print the screen instead of printing [with NRG].”
“It leaves out a lot of information that Vision Appraisals did include,” Murray continued. “Such as previous owner information and several other things. It’s not a big deal, I’m just making a comment. Pound for pound, I think Vision Appraisals is a better system. It’s easier for people to understand.”
After the discussion, the council unanimously approved the motion to award the bid to NRG.