Convenience in Paradise
- Industry: County Government
- Location: Kahului, Hawaii
- Number of Employees: 2,500+
- Population: 167,000
- Tyler Client Since: 1987
- Tyler Products Used: CLT Appraisal Services™, EnerGov®, iasWorld®, iasWorld Field Mobile™, SmartFile
The County of Maui has been with Tyler for more than 30 years. The county uses iasWorld to integrate their computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) functions and data with GIS mapping, pictometry, web-based navigation and links, and more.
Yet, the county still experienced challenges serving a population of more than 167,000 people, many of whom are not full-time residents on the island. The county needed a way to serve citizens near and far — to improve citizen access to county data such as relevant property information and forms while also minimizing the number of in-office visits.
The county’s goal from the beginning was to integrate an electronic forms process to allow all citizens to interact with the office at their convenience. In addition to completing forms online, the county was determined to find a solution that could process fees and digital payments as well as intuitively guide a user through filing an appeal. One significant factor in the county’s search for a solution was the ability to achieve all of these functions with a single vendor — if possible, the county might be able to connect the Real Property Assessment Division (RPAD) and the treasury to seamlessly manage its operations.
The county decided to collaborate with its long-time partner in Tyler to add more digital solutions to strengthen field and public-facing processes. And, in order to ensure the tools were tailored specifically to meet the county’s needs, the close working relationship between the county and Tyler was strengthened through weekly meetings and iterative changes. Working toward the goal of more comprehensive operations, the county leaned on its core iasWorld solution as the foundation for the digital enhancements that would bring about significant change for constituents and staff alike.
By the spring of 2019, the county had implemented Tyler’s SmartFile solution for digital data management and online filing, and also began offering its field staff more capable mobile tools for property valuation with iasWorld Field Mobile™.
In order to have such a successful implementation, Maui staff worked with Tyler software operations and implementation teams in late 2018 to understand the complexities of specific processes and to define a plan for optimal performance. Judy Egger, systems analyst, remembers the collaboration well.
We didn’t have to go to another vendor to implement online filing or mobile appraisals in the field. Staying with one vendor made things so much easier.
Real Property Tax Clerk Supervisor
“I’ve been with the county for about 15 years and support iasWorld on the IT side,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without Mark and Kevin at Tyler. We had meetings with Kevin every week, and it was an amazing amount of help. Their expertise and guidance were very much appreciated.”
The first step in the process was to convert the various paper forms to electronic forms and then to test the new forms to confirm proper translation to the iasWorld system. In addition to the translation of physical forms, open collaboration between Tyler, the RPAD, and treasury was necessary to align payment processing steps for online payments and transactions. And after training on the new processes, staff would need to have certain permissions and fields configured for more efficient and precise review of the online forms. These steps ensured the county could then accept, input, and process critical digital forms and payments — making the lives of taxpayers easier and offering modern convenience they were coming to expect.
With SmartFile, the public is now able to file an appeal, request a change in status, declare a certain property class, change a mailing address, pay for appeal fees digitally, and much more without having to leave home. The solution gives taxpayers another, often more convenient, option for interacting with the county when property-related changes are required — and when it comes to efficiency, the results speak for themselves.
Maui County constituents can now avoid the geographical and procedural challenges that existed prior to the implementation of these digital tools. RPAD staff experience fewer walk-in interruptions and phone calls and can approve and publish property changes easily and efficiently. In 2019, the RPAD had a total of 720 forms published electronically — many such forms including multiple pages of data and information. Prior to SmartFile, staff took about an hour to process 10 forms. This means the county saved staff 72 hours of work and more than two reams of paper. Similarly, staff on the payments processing side experienced less manual work as well. The county estimates it saved roughly 10 hours of work per cashier by no longer having to take payment over the counter.
Benefits exist at the administrative level too. Role assignments and security measures within SmartFile allow management to customize the level of access certain users have — giving them reassurance that staff are accessing and editing appropriate content. The administrative portal also allows certain work to be assigned and tracked within the application so it can be properly reviewed and published. This means reduced data entry, better data quality, reduced omissions, increased supervision, and enhanced productivity. Melvina Kanaha, real property tax clerk and supervisor, recognizes the great new benefits after being part of the team at Maui County for almost 29 years.
“It’s less data entry, less errors, less manual effort ... and it’s nice that we can stay within Tyler to do it all,” she says. “I’ve been with the county for a long time, and the system now is just easier to understand and operate. It’s a much better workflow.”
Through the advent of new digital tools, coupled with the county staff’s hard work and training, the County of Maui now gives its constituents the ability to engage with its offices easily and conveniently to stay more connected. Teams are more productive and efficient in their daily operations, management has greater visibility and control of tasks, and the relationship with taxpayers is supported by a strong foundation of capable tools to assist them in every facet of the property tax lifecycle.