Incorporating a New City With iasWorld

  • Industry: County Government
  • Location: Decatur, Georgia
  • Employees: Approximately 100
  • Population: 740,000
  • Tyler Client Since: 2012
  • Tyler Products Used: iasWorld®
  • Website: https://portal.arkansas.gov/

Challenge

The county of DeKalb reaches across Decatur, to Atlanta, and into parts of Alpharetta, Georgia. With its county seat in Decatur, the Tax Commissioner’s Office is a critical part of the ecosystem across multiple communities. And, as the county worked to integrate a new city within its limits, this caused a challenge in assessment valuations and tax billing. The new city needed to have taxes applied and bills disbursed without disruption, and the county needed to navigate an existing assessment freeze against a millage reduction — impacting more than 10,000 taxpayers. With an all-new digest team and a truncated deadline, the office collaborated with county IT staff and Tyler experts to determine best practices for the adjustment and to apply changes best-suited for operations moving forward.

Solution

In working with Tyler and local staff, the office determined the formula for calculating the district millage equivalent (DME) was reliant upon a frozen assessed value within the system. Using the iasWorld® solution, the DME formula would then lower the property tax for the applied selection, and this was the promised result for the newly-formed city. The problem was — could this change be applied, tested, and implemented within a few days?

After virtual meetings and continued investigation, the office modified operations with a new tactic. They would overwrite frozen values with current assessed values and apply this script to counteract system settings for the DME calculation. Moreover, it would not need extensive testing because the script could be applied to all calculations and did not require manual intervention. Within a few hours of testing, it was determined this solution could provide the ability for the office to distribute tax bills on time. Additionally, it would allow teams more time to work on a permanent solution for the city.

Results

Battling against the impending deadline, technical adjustments, and the pandemic, DeKalb County passed the state digest meeting without issue and were granted the ability to collect taxes without the need for a temporary order. In any other situation with such tight time constraints, the county might have elected to bill the new city separately and exclude the parcels from the digest. However, with the quick-thinking staff and the support from Tyler, the office was able to avoid billing the city separately — strengthening its positive relationship with the new community.

Tyler did everything so seamlessly — to where we were able to get everything approved with the state and get the bills out on time. Great timing. Great effort. We’re just so thankful for Tyler.

Christy Huiel

Director of Property Tax, DeKalb County, GA

“The product allows us to do accurate tax billing and get out bills on a timely basis. Over the period of time that we have been using Tyler, we have consecutively, year in and year out, been able to send out tax bills at the same time of the year. Where you have some municipalities or counties who will alter their billing dates, we have been able to get our bills out, in usually August or September, for the last eight or nine years in a row.” — Irvin Johnson, Tax Commissioner, DeKalb County, GA

Closing the digest, residents of the new city and its more than 10,000 properties received the tax savings they were promised, and the city itself successfully billed more than $2 million. Overcoming this challenge took quite the team effort, comprised of dedicated staff, hard-working IT professionals, and Tyler Support. With a little ingenuity, DeKalb County was able to keep the streak of accurate, precise tax billing alive.

Case Study Highlights

  • Passed tax digest and without issue
  • 10,000+ parcels valued at more than $2 million
  • Collaborated to successfully incorporate new city billing

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