The best way to discover efficiencies is simply to ask the people who perform the work. Thus, we put together employee-led committees to explore new ways of meeting our goals; organizing, prioritizing, and improving tasks. Through brainstorming, our Committees paid off in spades. The Processes Committee identified 34 different areas where we could be more efficient. We were able to address many of these issues by changing software vendors in many areas this year.
We purchased SIRE software for the electronic processing of Real Estate Excise Tax. This software gives us the added advantage of greater imaging capability and enhanced document management. We also installed Invoice Cloud – a new internet based payment portal. The new system allows greater access and flexibility for the public. Online statements and a number of payment options are available. Debit card charges have been significantly reduced; dropping from 2.5% of the tax bill to a flat fee of $3.95.
We signed up with Bid4Assets, Inc to implement online auctions which will work like E-Bay and allow greater public participation and reduction of unsold parcels. We also chose to move the Foreclosure Auction from December to March, giving taxpayers more time to catch up on delinquent taxes.
Based on input from our taxpayers, we drew up a legislative bill to be introduced in 2013 that would eliminate the major penalties on delinquent property tax and allow partial payments if made electronically. Pursuant to that effort, Rep. Matt Shea, Legislative District 4 in Spokane County, introduced House Bill 1430; the "Save My Home" bill, to the Finance Committee in Olympia on January 28th.
Our Website Committee received many compliments from the public for our Spokane County Treasurer's website by changing the look, enhancing usability, and providing more information to the public thereby increasing taxpayer access to information.
It is our desire to be open and approachable to the public. If you have any issues or constructive feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In your service,
Spokane County Treasurer