Delta board OKs equalization pact with UPCAP

ESCANABA – The Delta County Board Tuesday approved an agreement with the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress to providecounty equalization services.

The contract specifies that Delta County will pay UPCAP $125,000 annually for its services beginning Jan. 1. The agreement was unanimously supported by the board.

Currently, the county is under contract with Marquette County to provide equalization services, but UPCAP is working to consolidate some services since counties are facing difficult times financially, according to Jonathan Mead, president and CEO of UPCAP.

Mead said as the area of equalization becomes more advanced with technology playing more of a role, counties need to make sure they are not falling behind. He said as technology changes, the number of equalization directors and assessors will likely decline.

“Also, training of our assessors and our equalization individuals is not keeping pace with that technology,” he said. “It’s been getting more and more difficult to find Level IV certified equalization individuals. I know that Delta County’s struggled with that. That’s one of the reasons why they’ve contracted with Marquette County, but there are other counties facing similar situations.”

UPCAP will contract with Allied Information Systems to provide Delta County with a Level IV certified equalization/assessment director certified by the state. AIS has worked with several units of government throughout the country to provide Level IV-certified equalization support, Mead said.

Delta County is the first U.P. county to contract with UPCAP for these equalization services, but Mead said hopefully UPCAP can provide these services to other counties as well.

According to the contract, UPCAP will complete and file all necessary reports, prepare and coordinate Delta County’s annual apportionment report, represent the county at the State Tax Tribunal regarding the procedure and data used to perform the equalization process, oversee the appraisal of real and personal property within the county, complete the annual appraisal and sales studies within the county, and prepare the annual equalization report for presentation to the county board.

UPCAP will also prepare statistical information and analysis of property value information, train and provide ongoing support and oversight of local unit assessors within the county, maintain the county’s parcel level Geographic Information System and the web-hosting of county GIS data, and attend necessary meetings of the county board regarding work prepared by the Delta County Equalization Department.