Michael Richmond, assessor for the City of Plainwell and for Bloomingdale Township in Van Buren County, has been hired by Dorr Township as its new assessor.
Richmond, who will begin duties on Jan. 1, succeeds Patti Samply, who resigned her post this past fall. He will be paid $2,500 per month in the first year and $10 per parcel, or about $7,000 per year for inspections.
Richmond, also former deputy assessor for Moran Township, updates property records, processes deeds, appraises and values properties based on state-mandated guidelines.
Samply agreed to stay on board for Dorr Township until the end of this year. She left because of what she called an adverse relationship with new members of the Township Board, particularly Trustee Terri Rios and Clerk Debbie Sewers.
The Township Board Thursday night also had considerable discussion about paying office manager Vicki Fifelski $386.67 for her assessor’s license. Fifelski, who is the township’s deputy assessor, has been taking courses in addition to her regular job to obtain a Class I license. A full-time assessor must have a license II.
Supervisor Jeff Miling said he had asked Fifelski some time ago about taking courses in assessing because the regular assessor is not available often in the office to answer questions from the public. Fifelski is present at the office more than any other township official.
But Rios objected, saying, “I don’t understand why we’re paying for a license that’s hers. She could quit and take that license with her and get a job… I’m a nurse and I have to pay for my license.”
Miling said it’s in the township’s interest to have someone readily available to explain basic assessing to the residents when they come in to ask questions. He added, “I asked her to keep up on things.”
Trustee Dan Weber said, “This has a benefit for the township. I like someone being in the office who can answer questions.”
The vote to pay for the cost of Fifelski’s license was 6-1, with Rios dissenting.