FARMINGTON – Selectmen awarded a contract Tuesday to William Van Tuinen of  Madison to assist in an assessing update or partial revaluation of the town. However, they differed on an additional request for sketching services.

Van Tuinen provides real estate appraisals and tax assessment services.

In a 3-2 vote, selectmen contracted with Van Tuinen for $38,500, which will be funded from the town’s revaluation reserve account. The money will pay for the assessing update assistance and digital sketching of 1,000 properties at a cost of $6 per sketch.

Selectmen Andrew Hufnagel and Ryan Morgan voted against the motion with Chairman Stephan Bunker, Dennis Pike and Jessica Berry approving the amount.

Assessor Mark Caldwell recommended hiring Van Tuinen to assist in updating land and building costs schedules, the valuation of commercial properties, including apartments, and a review of the final values placed on all properties for $32,500.

He also requested an additional $13,000 for sketching 2,166 properties of the 2,500 plus cards representing properties with buildings on them cataloged in the assessor office.

While Van Tuinen will use sketch software that’s compatible to the town’s software, Hufnagel proposed having town employees complete the sketching and moved to spend only the $32,500. It doesn’t make sense for the town to buy the program and then have someone outside use it, he said.

In what can be a lengthy process for more complex building sketches, Caldwell said it would take longer to complete. The work would organize property information and include a sketch, all on one record.

Hufnagel’s motion failed, prompting more discussion that resulted in a compromise of just 1,000 sketches to help employees get a start on the work.

Selectmen voiced concern about using reserve account funds when a revaluation will need to be done at some point. Morgan questioned whether the work would slow the need for a total town revaluation, something Van Tuinen estimated would cost $235,000.

In other business,  selectmen unanimously agreed to retain the services of Bunker and Savage Architects of Augusta to continue retrofitting a medical office building into the town police station.

A revised estimate of costs totaling $416,000 was presented to the board by Craig Boone of Bunker and Savage. Earlier this month, voters approved spending up to $490,000 on the project.

The board discussed subcontracting portions of the work out to local contractors instead of using one general contractor. They directed Boone to return with more itemized specifications on the proposed work to continue the discussion.

Forster Technology students can start working on the garage this fall but cannot  replace the vinyl siding until 2012 or do the roof project, Chief Jack Peck said. The board agreed the siding should be done earlier when windows and doors are changed.

A title search and surveying needs to be done on the property before the garage can be built, Town Manager Richard Davis said.

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