A-60293, MARCH 13, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 693

A-60293: Mar 13, 1935

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT WITH PERSONS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO APPRAISE ALL PARCELS OF PROPERTY TO BE ACQUIRED UNDER THE ACT. IS COMPOSED OF THE PRESIDENT. THE SQUARES CONTAINING INHABITED ALLEYS AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WHICH ARE TO BE RECONSTRUCTED. ARE IN THE HANDS OF PRIVATE OWNERS. IT WAS AT FIRST THOUGHT THAT LAND MIGHT BE ACQUIRED THROUGH VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS WITH THE OWNERS THEREOF AT PRICES NOT EXCEEDING THE ASSESSED VALUATION. THOUGH YOU WILL NOTE THAT IN PARAGRAPH 3 (D) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12. IT WAS FINALLY CONCLUDED THAT THERE MIGHT BE INSTANCES WHERE THE PROPERTY WAS NOT PROPERLY ASSESSED AND THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WOULD REQUIRE APPRAISAL THEREOF BY A COMPETENT APPRAISER.

A-60293, MARCH 13, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 693

PERSONAL SERVICES - APPRAISERS - ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN VIEW OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ASSESSOR AND OF THE BOARD OF ASSISTANT ASSESSORS OF TAXES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PRESCRIBED BY STATUTE AND OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930, ESTABLISHING AND PRESCRIBING THE DUTIES OF THE ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT WITH PERSONS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO APPRAISE ALL PARCELS OF PROPERTY TO BE ACQUIRED UNDER THE ACT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY, MARCH 13, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 12, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY, CREATED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930, 933, IS COMPOSED OF THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE DIRECTOR OF HOUSING, PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION, THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, AND HAS OBTAINED FUNDS THROUGH AN ALLOTMENT FROM THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARRYING OUT THE TERMS OF SAID ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934.

THE SQUARES CONTAINING INHABITED ALLEYS AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WHICH ARE TO BE RECONSTRUCTED, UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, ARE IN THE HANDS OF PRIVATE OWNERS, AND IT BECOMES NECESSARY TO ACQUIRE SAID LAND EITHER THROUGH VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS WITH THE OWNERS THEREOF OR THROUGH CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS. IT WAS AT FIRST THOUGHT THAT LAND MIGHT BE ACQUIRED THROUGH VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS WITH THE OWNERS THEREOF AT PRICES NOT EXCEEDING THE ASSESSED VALUATION, THOUGH YOU WILL NOTE THAT IN PARAGRAPH 3 (D) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY MAY PAY NOT EXCEEDING 30 PERCENTUM OVER AND ABOVE THE PRESENT ASSESSED VALUE OF THE PROPERTY. HOWEVER, IT WAS FINALLY CONCLUDED THAT THERE MIGHT BE INSTANCES WHERE THE PROPERTY WAS NOT PROPERLY ASSESSED AND THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WOULD REQUIRE APPRAISAL THEREOF BY A COMPETENT APPRAISER, WHO WOULD BE ABLE, IN EVENT CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WERE REQUIRED IN ANY CASE, TO TESTIFY IN COURT WITH RESPECT TO THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY.

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY WAS FURNISHED BY THE WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE BOARD, IN A LETTER OF JANUARY 22, 1935, COPY INCLOSED, WITH A LIST OF NAMES OF PERSONS WHO HAD SERVED IN MAKING APPRAISALS AND WHO WERE BELIEVED BY THE WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE BOARD TO BE COMPETENT TO MAKE THE APPRAISALS IN THIS CASE. THE ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY THEREUPON PREPARED A REQUEST FOR BIDS FOR APPRAISAL SERVICE, COPY INCLOSED, AND SENT A COPY TO EACH OF THE MEMBERS NAMED BY THE WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE BOARD IN ITS SAID LETTER OF JANUARY 22, 1935. SEVERAL BIDS WERE RECEIVED WHICH MAY BE TABULATED AS FOLLOWS:

NAME:PER PARCEL

M. P. CAN BY ----------------------------------- $15.00

CHARLES H. TOMPKINS --------------------------- 15.00

A. C. HOUGHTON -------------------------------- 10.00

KARL E. JARRELL ------------------------------- 10.00

F. ELIOT MIDDLETON ---------------------------- 10.00

CURTIS WALKER --------------------------------- 10.00

JOSEPH A. HERBERT, JR. ------------------------ 5.00

C. F. DONOHOE --------------------------------- 5.00

THE ORDINARY RULE IS, AS WE KNOW, THAT THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BID IS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, TO BE ACCEPTED; BUT, AS ABOVE INDICATED, THERE ARE MANY OTHER FACTORS INVOLVED IN SECURING COMPETENT REAL-ESTATE APPRAISERS THAN THE BID PRICE SUBMITTED BY PARTICULAR APPRAISERS, ALSO, ONE OR TWO MEN WOULD NOT BE SUFFICIENT TO PERFORM THIS WORK, AS THE TIME REQUIRED FOR ONE OR TWO APPRAISERS TO MAKE THE APPRAISAL WOULD UNDULY DELAY THE BUILDING PROGRAM. FURTHERMORE, IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO HAVE TWO OR MORE APPRAISERS TO MAKE APPRAISALS OF SOME OR ALL OF THE VARIOUS PARCELS OF PROPERTY IN ORDER THAT THE APPRAISAL OF ONE MAY BE SOMEWHAT OF A CHECK UPON THE APPRAISAL OF THE OTHER.

IF YOU SEE NO LEGAL OBJECTION THERETO, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY PROPOSES TO ACCEPT THE BIDS OF SUCH OF THE APPRAISERS AS IT BELIEVES AFTER INVESTIGATION TO BE COMPETENT, ENTIRELY TRUSTWORTHY, AND HAVING NO INTEREST WHATEVER IN THE PROPERTY TO BE APPRAISED AND WITHOUT REGARD TO THE AMOUNT OF THE BIDS SUBMITTED BY THEM FOR MAKING THE APPRAISAL--- THE EMPHASIS BEING ON SECURING COMPETENT MEN, UNBIASED APPRAISERS, AND A RECORD WHICH WILL AID IN PROTECTING THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN NEGOTIATING FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE PROPERTY OR IN CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WITH RESPECT THERETO. UNDER SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY HAS TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER THE CONTEMPLATED PROCEDURE IS SUCH THAT PAYMENTS TO THE APPRAISERS MAY BE CHARGED TO APPROPRIATED MONEYS.

UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, 28 STAT. 282, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1902, 32 STAT. 617, AND SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 832, IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ASSESSOR OF TAXES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THREE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ASSISTANT ASSESSORS TO ASSESS ALL REAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR TAXATION PURPOSES "AT NOT LESS THAN THE FULL AND TRUE VALUE THEREOF IN LAWFUL MONEY.' THE SAME STATUTES PROVIDE THAT THE SIX MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ASSISTANT ASSESSORS, TOGETHER WITH THE ASSESSOR, AS CHAIRMAN, SHALL CONSTITUTE THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW OF REAL-ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. THE ASSISTANT ASSESSORS ARE REQUIRED BY THE SAID ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, TO BE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND CONVERSANT WITH REAL-ESTATE VALUES THEREIN. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 11, 1932, 47 STAT. 48, REMOVES ANY DISQUALIFICATION OF THE ASSESSOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHICH MIGHT ARISE THROUGH HIS OFFICIAL POSITION AND QUALIFIES HIM TO ACT AS AN EXPERT WITNESS IN TESTIFYING RELATIVE TO THE VALUE OF REAL ESTATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, AND OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930-933, AUTHORIZING THE CREATION OF THE AUTHORITY AND PRESCRIBING ITS DUTIES, THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NEITHER NECESSITY NOR AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT WITH PERSONS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO APPRAISE ALL PARCELS OF PROPERTY PROPOSED TO BE ACQUIRED IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISION OF SAID ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934.