Less than three months after alders scolded the city assessor for an error that cost homeowners more than $100 each, the city has a new contractor in place.

The contract of Musser Appraisal was expected to be terminated as soon as Tuesday, after a legal review of the deal approved following a closed session Monday, Feb. 11.

The council had almost no comment in the three-minute period before entering another closed session – to discuss the performance of its administrator and fire chief. It simply voted to enter into an agreement with Appleton-based Associated Appraisal Consultants for annual service at a cost of $65,000 per year and a full market revaluation in 2019-20, as required by state guidelines, for $160,000.

That total of $420,000 is $80,000 less than Associated’s initial proposal but still $40,000 more than the plan offered by rival Accurate Appraisal.

Mayor Luke Diaz told the Press the decision to go with the more expensive service was based on background checks and references.

“We decided to move forward with new tax assessor services to give the people of Verona the service they deserve,” he said.

Musser admitted to the council in November his clerical error in submitting information to the state last year led to a TIF district getting marked for a value about $50 million higher than it should have been. As a result, the average taxpayer was charged about $150 more than last year, rather than about $13 more.

Musser, who retired as city assessor in Middleton in 2018, is under contract in Milton as that city’s assessor through 2021. He has been the city assessor in Verona since 2015 and was the city’s commercial appraiser for several years before that.

Email Verona Press editor Jim Ferolie at veronapress@wcinet.com.