Grosse Pointe Woods signs new contract with current assessor

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 12, 2022

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — While municipalities usually select the lowest bidder for a contract or service, that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to professional services.

With the Oct. 1 expiration date for their current assessing contract with Westland-based Wayne County Appraisal looming, the Grosse Pointe Woods City Council needed last month to decide whether to stay with WCA or switch to a different provider at a lower cost.

The council opted for the former, voting unanimously Sept. 19 in favor of a new three-year contract with WCA that has 5% increases each year and will cost the city $82,007 for Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023; $86,107 for Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2024; and $90,413 for Oct. 1, 2024, through Sept. 30, 2025. The vote took place as part of approval of the consent agenda.

During a Woods City Council Committee of the Whole meeting Sept. 12, City Administrator Frank Schulte said the Woods has been using WCA since 2016, and all of the other Grosse Pointes employ WCA for assessing as well.

“They’ve done a great job for us,” Schulte said.

He added that WCA works well with administrators and the finance department.

“I think this is the best way to go,” said Mayor Arthur Bryant, agreeing with Schulte’s recommendation.

City Councilman Michael Koester echoed that sentiment, stating, “I also strongly support it.”

Koester said he didn’t have a problem with the 5% annual price increases, saying that city “revenue increases are on par” with that increase.

“They do a great job,” Koester said of WCA.

Treasurer/Comptroller Shawn Murphy said hourly rates for Michigan Tax Tribunal cases and Michigan Tax Tribunal Appraisal services are also going up 5% in each of the next three years of the contract.

The city did receive a lower bid from an individual assessor — Tom Agrusa, who currently works for Utica — but while officials noted that he was qualified to do the work, they were concerned because he works alone and has no backup in the event of a personal emergency. Schulte said Agrusa’s bid was about $19,000 less than WCA’s.

“We like the fact that Wayne County Assessing has multiple assessors,” Schulte said.

City Councilwoman Vicki Granger said it was better to have an assessor who was already familiar with the city, and she also liked the fact that WCA has several assessors working for them.