MRC hires headhunting agency

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Justin Prest

MRC PONTIAC – Council recently approved the hiring of PVRH Recrutement to fill two positions – a director and a technician – in the property assessment department, which establishes the value of properties for municipal tax purposes. The firm will charge a fee equivalent to 22% of the first-year salary of
each position, a one-time bonus of $25,000, and will provide a guarantee of 6 months for each position.

According to Warden Jane Toller, the search for a director of the property assessment department will mark the first time the MRC has used a recruitment agency. “Usually, we hire and interview at the MRC, using a selection and HR committee made up of 5 mayors, the director-general, and the head of HR,” Toller explained. “It is an important in-house position, and we want to go out and find the best possible candidate.

Locals with the specific experience we need are encouraged to apply.”

It can, at times, be a difficult department. “It’s challenging and we’ve had difficulty keeping people [evaluators/inspectors]. The position can be difficult because it often requires evening and weekend
in-person calls to homes,” she added.

The warden expressed a need to stabilize the evaluation team. Therefore, the MRC is looking for “a director with experience, preferably from another region within Quebec, where they’ve already been doing this work.” The MRC intends to set a target for the number of calls to be made each week and believes it essential “to have someone who will motivate [the team]. We have some catching up to do due to COVID-19,” said Toller.

“Yes, I found it expensive,” said Shawville mayor, Bill McCleary. But this is one of the biggest services that the MRC does for the municipalities, and I don’t think we had many options. There have been new homes built, with no evaluations done, so the municipality is only collecting taxes on the lot, not the building. This was a last resort solution, because we need these evaluations done.”

When someone purchases a home, the MRC wants an up-to-date evaluation, because the value could have increased drastically. Legally there can be up to six years between evaluations, but the preferred time should be closer to three years.

Toller said she has encouraged mayors and municipalities to examine their budget and “to hold off a bit, should they determine a need for tax increases.” With property values rising, often more than inflation, the MRC and its municipalities will have increased revenues, anyway. When asked about those who might not be able to afford their taxes after a post-COVID-19 property assessment, the warden explained that the mayors “haven’t yet had the opportunity to sit down and talk about taxes.”