Enforcing Accuracy and Efficiency in Property Tax, Civil and Court & Traffic Collections

Client Name: Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO)
Vertical Markets: Public Sector
Technology Sold: Tax Collection System (TCM™), Court & Traffic Collection (CTC™), and Civil Suit System (CSS™)

Executive Summary

One of the greatest obstacles Parish Sheriff’s Offices struggle to overcome is a lack of money. This shortfall will usually result in an office that is understaffed, dealing with the challenges that arise when facing a workload worthy of twice the existing workforce. Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office recognized those challenges and reached out to Software & Services (S&S) for a solution.
Once the applications were fully implemented, OPSO witnessed the following:
  • Increased annual property tax collections ($119M property taxes collected);
  • Increased annual court/traffic collections ($5M fines/costs collected);
  • Reduced backlog of civil proceedings (8-12 week turnaround time reduced to 1 day);
  • Increased civil collections ($7.6M through foreclosures / $400K in garnishments).

Challenges

(1) Efficiency & Accuracy
Before obtaining our software, OPSO staff managed data related to their tax collections and money disbursements through multiple spreadsheets and ledgers and by manually calculating interest for delinquent accounts. Human error resulted in erroneous disbursements and collections, and their lack of a streamlined, centralized civil process invited into their office one of the biggest enemies to efficiency: wasted time. With limited staff, their civil proceedings had a backlog of over three months, and the preparation of civil paperwork was bogging down the office staff, and creating even more opportunity for error.
(2) Office Technology
Office processes were antiquated, limiting collections to cash, check, or manually keyed-in credit card payments made in person. All data was stored in hard-copy form, and staff had to complete hard-copy civil forms manually. Disbursement checks were calculated and printed manually, as well. There were no automated processes in the office at all.
(3) Data Management
OPSO began to search for a solution that would enable their office to meet its operational needs without requiring additional staff. These ever-increasing needs would require a solution that was flexible, easy-to-use, and, above all, able to quickly and accurately disburse the monies collected in their office. An additional need, yet equally important, was to increase the technological functionality of the office to meet the changing needs of their citizenry.

How Product Helped

OPSO’s search resulted in a partnership with S&S and the implementation of the property tax management (TCM), the civil suit system (CSS), and the court/traffic collections (CTC) applications.

(1) Applications Increased Efficiency & Accuracy

  • Removed the guesswork from the monthly disbursement process by automatically calculating and disbursing collected tax dollars
  • Property Tax Payment import functionality reduced processing time from days to minutes
  • Reduced a months-long backlog by automating the service request process

(2) Applications Advanced Office Technologically

  • Integrated with payment processors to accept online payments
  • Digitally stored documentation, pictures, checks through scanning functionality
  • Increased access to property tax sale participation through Online Tax Sale

(3) Applications Improved Data Management

  • Improved access to data related to the property tax collection/distribution process
  • Updated letters/documents as needed when laws/statutes changed
  • On-board analytics increased transparency, improving results of annual legislative audit

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Implementation of the product suite exceeded every expectation regarding OPSO’s three primary challenges: (1) efficiency & accuracy, (2) office technology, and (3) data management.
Immediately upon implementation of these applications, the office noted a number of successes, such as better recordkeeping that led to consistent, successful legislative audits; more automated and streamlined processes; and increased transparency that led to an elevated public opinion.
After using the applications for a year, OPSO’s long-term achievements included:
  • Increased annual property tax collections ($119M property taxes collected);
  • Increased annual court/traffic collections ($5M fines/costs collected);
  • Reduced backlog of civil proceedings (8-12 week turnaround time reduced to 1 day);
  • Increased civil collections ($7.6M through foreclosures / $400K in garnishments).

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