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					Developing a Website and
Electronic Filing System
Internet use by age group
Top 5 activities users age 33+
   Get health info
   Buy something online
   Visit government sites
   Bank online
   Get religious info
IAAO Standard on Public Relations
   “A public relations program in the assessment profession
    provides current and useful information on assessment
    policies and practices, as well as a means of responding to
    public opinion. A proactive public relations program is
    essential to public awareness of the assessment process and of
    the importance of the property tax in funding local
    government services. A public relations program should be an
    integral part of every assessment office‟s work. A public
    relations program describes what the office does as well as
    how, why, and for whom its services are performed. An
    effective public relations program results in more accurate
    and thorough coverage from the media and a better-informed
IAAO Standard on Public Relations
   “In addition to more traditional communication
    methods, the Internet is an effective way of
    informing the public. Relevant assessment and
    property tax information should be available on the
    Web. Assessing officers must research, plan, and
    implement ways to deliver information on the
    Internet. Assessment agency Web sites should be
    content-driven, so information can be quickly
    accessed, retrieved, and reviewed.”
Create a favorable image
   The website is one area where an
    appraisal district can control and
    create a positive and favorable image
    of the appraisal district.
   You can communicate with the public
    to inform and influence them that the
    job we are performing is fair and we
    are responding to the market and
    complying with state statues and
    standard appraisal practices.
Overcoming misconceptions and
                There are many misconceptions
                 and prejudices against the
                 appraisal district.
                A website provides an
                 appraisal district the
                 opportunity to overcome the
                 common misconceptions .
Fostering goodwill
   The most important force
    affecting organizations and
    government today is the
    opinion of people.
   The value of goodwill is most
    evident when absent.
Promotion of product or service
    In the case of appraisal districts we provide a
    service to the public.
   The website is an opportunity to promote the
    service that we provide and the good quality
    of the work done by the staff.
   We can become the expert in the industry and
    build up credibility.
Detecting and dealing with issues and
forestalling attacks
                 The website can be used to get
                  ahead of the issues.
                 If values are increasing in your
                  district and you anticipate a
                  thrashing in the newspaper, use
                  your website to provide
                  information that explains to the
                  taxpayers why values are
Education of the public
   Appraisals and the functions of our
    office are difficult.
   A website provides an opportunity to
    make technical terms and procedures
   The website is also a facilitating resource
    for the taxpayer on questions they may
    have in regards to property information,
    applications and procedures that directly
    affect them.
Provide Transparency
             Government transparency and openness are
              fundamental to American democracy. In Texas,
              the Public Information Act is one of the primary
              mechanisms by which members of the public
              hold their government accountable.

             The preamble of the act describes the legislative
              intent “ The people, in delegating authority, do
              not give their public servants the right to decide
              what is good for the people to know and what is
              not good for them to know. The people insist on
              remaining informed so that they may retain
              control over the instruments they have created.”
   There are numerous sections of the tax code that
    now deal directly with websites.
   While is has not yet been mandated that each CAD
    provide a website; the legislature has made obvious
    an intent to encourage the use of websites for
    providing information.
       11.1825(r) – Display low income capitalization rate
       11.423 (a) – allows use of TDHAC website for mobile
        home verification
       41.415 – Electronic filing of protests
Cost Savings
   Establishing a website is a proactive
    customer service approach for both
    small and large appraisal districts.
   Instead of waiting for consumers to
    visit with questions, appraisal
    districts anticipate the questions and
    answer them via websites.
   It also means savings, because
    website hosting fees are often lower
    than staffing a customer service
How Do I Start ?
Basic Questions Answered
What is the Internet
   Most simply, the Internet is
    a collection of computers
    that are able to
    communicate with each
   They are typically
    connected via phone lines,
    cables, digital satellite
    signals, and other types of
    data transfer mechanisms.
Where do the websites live?
   Websites are physically saved on computers called
    “servers” because the „serve‟ up the websites they
    have saved on their hard disks on demand.
   Basically, the server computer has a bunch of
    websites loaded on it and it just waits for people (via
    web browser such as internet explorer) to request or
    ask for a particular page. When the browser requests
    a page the server sends it out.
   Servers are usually run by web hosts, but can also be
    run by individuals or companies.
How does a website get an official
   Computers speak to each other in
    numbers but for us mere humans the
    numbers are hard to remember.
   It is much easier to remember than it is to
   You must register a domain to get your
    official address for your web site on the
    World Wide Web. With this “Official”
    address, the rest of the web can find
What is domain registration?
   Domain registration is the process by which a
    company or individual can secure a website domain.
   Once you have completed domain registration the
    domain becomes yours for the period of the
    contract., usually one year can be for as much as ten
   Before the registration expires it must be renewed, or
    the domain reverts back to being available to the
    general public.
How do I register my domain?
              Domain registration is available
               to the public via a registrar.
              Fees and services vary from
               company to company but the
               process is generally inexpensive
               (under $10 per year).
              Before a domain registration can
               be approved, the new name must
               be checked against existing
               names in the DNS database.
What is a web host?
   A web host is a service provider that
    stores your website on a server and
    allows your website to be seen by
    anyone who has an internet connection
    and a browser.
   Hosting your own website is always an
    option; however, there are several
    important and costly points to consider:
       Hardware costs
       Software costs
       Labor expenses
How do I chose a web host?
   Free or Paid
   Host Server Type
   Disk Space
   Bandwidth
   Server side language
   Database
   Technical Support
   Extra Features
Next Steps:
How to Design a Website
Set your Goal
   Decide the overall objective of your website.
       Knowing your goals will impact the choices you
        make when putting the web site together and
        ultimately contribute to its success or failure
   Identify and focus on your target market
Write your content
   Decide what content your website is going to
       Content should be tightly focused on your goals
        and target market.
       Use strong headlines
       Keep your language simple, be clear and concise.
       Use pictures
Develop a structure
   Plan how the web page will fit together.
   Decide how content will be divided up.
   Group the pages according to theme
   Create a hierarchy
   Sketch how the pages fit together in an
    organization chart.
   Nothing special is really needed, just a
    series of boxes representing each page
    in the site with lines
Create a design
   Keep in mind your goal and target
       Determine where page elements such as
        navigation links are best placed (such as
        Left side navigation or top navigation).
       Also consider the use of white space
       Consider the significance of different
       Determine which fonts to use. Not all fonts
        work on all computers.
Code your website
   Do you need a web designer?
         If you choose to engage a web designer the cost can range greatly depending
          on your requirements.
         The more extensive and elaborate the website the higher the cost. Expect to
          spend approximately $500 for a basic site
       Reasons to do it yourself?
          Free or very low cost
          No communication divide between you and a designer
          Learning HTML is easy
   Other options
         You can also contact local resources such as libraries and community
          colleges to see what assistance they may have available
Publish your website
   Choose Domain Name
   Domain Name Availability
   Domain Registration
   Select web host
   Upload your files
Electronic Filing of Notice of Protest
Who must comply
   This section applies appraisal districts
    established for a county having a population
    of 500,000 or more. – January 2010
   All appraisals districts with an Internet
    website accessible to the public - January
       If the population is 250,000 or less the deadline
        to comply is January 2013
41.415 Requirements
   The appraisal district shall implement a system that allows the owner of a
    property that for the current tax year has been granted a residence
    homestead exemption under Section 11.13, in connection with the
    property, to electronically:
       file a notice of protest under Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2) with the appraisal
        review board
       receive and review comparable sales data and other evidence that the chief
        appraiser intends to use at the protest hearing before the board
       receive, as applicable:
           a settlement offer from the district to correct the appraisal records by changing
            the market value and, if applicable, the appraised value of the property to the
            value as redetermined by the district; or
           a notice from the district that a settlement offer will not be made; and
       accept or reject a settlement offer received from the appraisal district under
        Subdivision (3)(A)
41.415 Requirements
   With each notice sent under Section 25.19 to an eligible
    property owner, the chief appraiser shall include information
    about the system required by this section, including
    instructions for accessing and using the system.
   A notice of protest filed electronically under this section
    must include, at a minimum:
       a statement as to whether the protest is brought under Section
        41.41(a)(1) or under Section 41.41(a)(2);
       a statement of the property owner‟s good faith estimate of the value
        of the property; and
       an electronic mail address that the district may use to communicate
        electronically with the property owner in connection with the protest.
41.415 Requirements
   If the property owner accepts a settlement offer
    made by the appraisal district, the chief appraiser
    shall enter the settlement in the appraisal records as
    an agreement made under Section 1.111(e).
   If the property owner rejects a settlement offer, the
    appraisal review board shall hear and determine the
    property owner‟s protest in the manner otherwise
    provided by this subchapter and Subchapter D.
41.415 Requirements
   An appraisal district is not required to make
    the system required by this section available
    to an owner of a residence homestead located
    in an area in which the chief appraiser
    determines that the factors affecting the
    market value of real property are unusually
    complex or to an owner who has designated
    an agent to represent the owner in a protest as
    provided by Section 1.111
41.415 Requirements
   An electronic mail address provided by a
    property owner to an appraisal district under
    Subsection (d)(3) is confidential and may not
    be disclosed by the district
Implementing a system
   Most CAMA software vendors have
    developed systems to assist appraisal districts
    in the implementation of Electronic Filing of
       The samples below is one example of the
        workflow implementations
Implementing a system
What you will need…
   Website
   Hardware /Software
   NOAV Insert
   Website and Email user agreements
   Staff
Policy Decisions
   Eligibility       Staffing
   Evidence          Emails
   Offers            Training
   Informals         Addressing
   Scheduling         Problems
   “Section 41.415(g) – An appraisal district is not required to make the
    system required by this section available to an owner of a residence
    homestead located in an area which the Chief Appraiser determines the
    factors affecting the market value of real property are unusually complex
    or to an owner who has designated an agent to represent the owner in a
    protest as provided by Section 1.111”

   Travis CAD Sample
       In determining the properties which would be eligible for an electronic
        protest the Chief Appraiser considered many factors that create complexity in
        a market valuation. He considered the overall property value, the sample size
        of sales and properties in a neighborhood and its homogeneity. After much
        consideration and analysis, the Chief Appraiser determined that the following
        thresholds be used in determining the properties that would be eligible for
        electronic protests this year
Determining Eligible Accounts
   Considered the market value of a property. Higher valued properties are
    typically more complex to value than lower valued properties. The Chief
    Appraiser considered the average homestead value in Travis County of
    $279,763 when he set the value threshold of eligible properties at
    $300,000 or less.
   Also considered the size of the neighborhood and the number of
    sales. The smaller the sample size, the more difficult the properties are to
    appraise. The Chief Appraiser set the sample size of neighborhoods with
    at least 100 properties and at least 5 sales for aid in comparable
   Finally considered the homogeneity of the neighborhoods, meaning how
    similar are the properties within the neighborhood in condition, year built,
    size, quality, land values and location. A statistical measure of
    Coefficient of Determination (COD) was used to determine the
   What evidence is to be included in the
    evidence packet?
   Do you want automated evidence or should
    each evidence packet be reviewed by an
   Do you want to automate offers or should all
    offers be reviewed by an appraiser?
       If automated, what are the criteria?
       If manual, who will be responsible?
   Will you offer informals to the electronic
   When will you schedule the formal hearing?
   How many staff do you need?
   Who is responsible for what?
   What will trigger an email?
   Will you respond to emails?
   Train your customer service staff on what the
    taxpayer will see!!
Addressing Problems
   Taxpayer misunderstandings.
   Taxpayer changes their mind.
   Taxpayer missed deadlines.
   Taxpayer complaints.
Impact of electronic filing
   Most metro appraisal districts implementing
    the system for the first time in 2010 saw
    minimal taxpayer participation.
       Travis CAD – approx 35,000 eligible, 376
       Collin CAD – approx 35,000 eligible, 350
       Bexar CAD – approx 15,000 eligible, 70 protests
Final Thoughts
Website Examples
Additional Resources
   Free CSS Editor:
   Free CSS Toolbox: CSS Validator, CSS Formatter, CSS Compressor
   Free Image Editor:
   The Gimp: Image Editor and Manipulator
   Paint.NET: Image Editor and Manipulator
   HTML Resources:
   HTML Goodies: Good Place to learn HTML
 Good Tutorials for HTML and CSS
 General Programming Site and Community
 Has a Tutorial That a Kid can Follow
Additional Resources
   Marya Crigler, Travis CAD
   David Martinez, El Paso CAD
Additional Resources
   A website template is provided on CD and is available for
       This software is provided by the copyright holders and contributors
        AS IS. No warranties expressed or implied, are given. They have
        been offered in good faith and any consequential damage due to their
        use is the sole responsibility of the user accessing the system in
        question and operating the software on it. In no event shall the
        copyright owner or contributors be liable for any direct, indirect,
        incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including,
        but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of
        use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on
        any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort
        (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use
        of the software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage

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