Area officials consider merging assessors

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 25, 2013 5:00 AM

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A possible merger involving municipal and county officials will be on the table for an upcoming joint meeting.

Area officials will discuss combining the Johnson County Assessor and the City Assessor Offices.

Both the city assessor and the county assessor evaluate the value of all residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties within their areas. Because of Iowa City’s population size, the city has the option to have an assessor.

With the two assessors’ impending retirements, one county official believes it’s time to speak about a possible merger option.

“We’ve been gradually talking to the [Iowa City] City Council, but now it’s time to talk about it in public,” said Janelle Rettig, the chairwoman of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. “The county assessors assess more property.”

A joint meeting at the Iowa City Public Library — including the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, the University of Iowa, as well as the Coralville, Hills, Iowa City, Lone Tree, North Liberty, Solon, Swisher, Tiffin, and University Heights City Councils — will be held Oct. 28.

Clear Creek/Amana and Iowa City School DSistricts will also be in attendance.

Davenport and Scott County formulated a similar consolidation plan this year but decided against the merger after several evaluations.

“It was reviewed a couple of times, but it was decided to not move forward with it,” said Craig Malin, the Davenport city administrator.

According to the Davenport City and Scott County Assessor Offices Draft Consolidation Plan, the reduced operating costs for the merger would be about $400,000.

The fund savings were not significant enough to complete the merger.

“There wasn’t any clear savings,” Malin said. “It was determined it would not make much of a difference.”

However, Rettig said that regardless of the savings, the beneficial part of the combination would be for the public.

“You would save some money, but it would be one salary,” she said. “The real benefit would be for the public because it’s been confusing; efficiency is worth it.”

— by Rebecca Morin

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