GovernMENTOR County Newsletter
Winter/Spring 2000

Articles in this Issue:

  • User Group Meetings
  • Letter from the President
  • Sweat Savers
  • Changing Times & Trends
  • Protecting Your Data
User Group Meetings

Now that the countdown to the new Millennium is over, it's time to start counting down the days until our next User Group meeting. I am very excited about this years User Group meetings. Our objective for this year's meeting is to provide intensive training on each phase of processing Real Estate and Personal Property.

We will be providing new inserts into your manuals, so be sure and bring the User Reference notebook so we can place new instructions inside. In addition, please bring your hand written procedures as we will assist you with incorporating your instructions and procedures into the manual.

ASSESSOR'S MEETING

Personal Property

  • Understanding Account Status Codes in conjunction with:
    Assessment Forms, Assessment Counts, Second Notice
    Second Notice Count Reports, Posting Forms Received,
    Forms Received, Report LAC Reports, Waivers
  • Assessment Forms & Notices
  • Vehicle Pricing Procedures
  • Reporting to assist in balancing and verification

Real Estate

  • New Tax Year Procedures
  • Impact Notice Procedures
  • Understanding the Active file and the WIP file
  • Splits/combos/deletions procedures
  • State Tax Commission Reporting
  • Reporting to assist in balancing and verification
  • Sales & Analysis Process & Reporting

General Topics

  • Balancing Assessor's Book
  • Balancing Form 11 and 11A
  • BOE Procedures & Reporting
  • Court Orders & Supplemental
  • Universal Forms for cost reduction
  • Open discussions for Laptops in the field
  • Imaging systems and GovernMENTOR

COLLECTOR'S MEETING

Personal Property

  • Extending the Tax Book
  • Printing Tax Bills & Procedures
  • Reporting to assist in balancing & verification

Real Estate

  • Account History access through Name Search
  • Extending the Tax Book
  • Printing Tax Bills & Procedures
  • On-line inquiry for Mortgage companies, etc.
  • Reporting to assist in balancing and verification

Collections

  • Daily Receipting & Voiding Receipts
  • Credit Card Features
  • Day, Month, & Year End Balancing & Reporting

General Topics

  • New Year & Setting Tax Levies
  • Court Orders & Supplementals
  • Department of Revenue Paid Tax Information
  • Universal forms
  • Laptops in the field

Both of these meetings will provide a day of intensive training with immediate pay. Everything you learn can be taken home in our newly updated User Reference manual and utilized the very next day!

Don't miss the opportunity for free training!

 

:Letter from the President

Embarking on a new year and more significantly a new millennium adds a greater sense of responsibility for us to evaluate what is important to GovernMENTOR Systems. You can be assured that our business goals for 2000 and beyond are focused on you.

The number one resolution at GSI is to be your best government partner in the new year. GSI was founded on the principles of serving local government and bringing our customers quality products at affordable prices. I am writing you today to reaffirm those practices and principals.

I really appreciate those customers who have stood by us this year while we did major enhancements to the system. It has been a tough road with many problems. I want you to know I appreciate your patience and your support. To those who are a little frustrated with the problems we had last year, you have my pledge that this new year we promise improved support, increased training assistance, and quality software products.

Our first major project for this year is our User Group meeting in March. It is very important that you and your personnel make every effort to attend this year's User Group meeting. We are providing intensive training on every aspect of the application. Your personnel will receive a new set of the User Manual of which we will be utilizing throughout the day. We will train directly from the User Reference Manual so your personnel will be familiar with accessing the information on a daily basis.

We will also be having open discussions on imaging with GovernMENTOR software, laptops in the field and universal forms.

We have had several of our clients already ask about utilizing laptops in the field for Assessors & Collectors. At the meeting we will layout the process of how information will be accessed and processed in the field. We will also discuss hardware recommendations.

Processing taxes requires several different types of forms and it seems like everyone has something different. We will discuss in our meeting some options for reducing the County's recurring costs for various form changes.

The skills learned at the meeting will lead to greater success for you and your County. I hope everyone who utilizes the GovernMENTOR software will have the opportunity to attend this meeting.

Eugene Geisinger

President

Sweat Savers

My Monitor and Keyboard seem to be Locked Up. What Can I do?

1.) If you are using a PC make sure your window title bar is colored and not gray. (Color is active, gray is not!) Move your mouse (arrow) inside the window and click to activate.

2.) If you are using a PC make sure the window scroll bar located on the right-hand side of the window is at the bottom of the scroll bar. Locate on your tool bar and click the arrow with underline.

3.) If you are using a PC make sure your window is properly positioned in the middle of the screen, not up or down to far to have portions covered up.

 

Changing Times & Trends

Every County official is faced with several conflicting issues as the new millennium gets under way.

How to reduce costs and increase productivity?

How to provide progress without excessive change?

How to efficiently reduce time spent processing taxpayer transactions and increase perception of service?

Perhaps balance in these areas is the first idea to consider. If we can partner technology and communication with taxpayers, they could receive the personal attention that an elected official wants them to perceive. Each transaction with a taxpayer is an opportunity to communicate in "a personal way" with them. Whether the taxpayer walks into your office or mails in their transaction, we need to evaluate the way we communicate with them. More information that focuses on the individual taxpayers personal property or real estate and activity, the better they will perceive your office has everything under control.

Universal forms among various counties allows less costs to be directed to each county for maintaining tax bills, assessment forms, court orders, waivers, etc.

We at GSI would like you to consider the newness of the millennium as a mind set that most everyone already has adjusted to favorably. Now might be the time to redesign a variety of forms we give tax payers to communicate better with them. We can share costs with all counties and together we can improve the impression of taxpayers about their tax dollars at work. Now might be the time to present new more informative communication about issues surrounding penalties, requirements by the state, requirements by the legislative to access penalties, etc.

Change is hard on everyone. Technology is making change become less the exception. Change is becoming the excepted normal occurrence; debit cards instead of checks, replacing computers for a faster one, electronic processing verses manual, it's the way of the future. In fact, it's here today!

We look forward to discussing a variety of issues at our User Group to further bring the future to our present efforts today!

 

Protecting Your Data

Computers are marvelous machines until they break down. A broken computer is worse than useless. The data stored inside on its hard drive is trapped inside and will never be of use to anyone. Unless someone had the foresight to back up the data, no one will ever be able to see or use it again.

In computer lingo, backing up means to make a second copy of a computer file or files and keep it in safe place where nothing can harm it. With GovernMENTOR software, files are backed up to various types of media. By the way, backing up data is so important, GovernMENTOR reminds you at certain options to back up prior to selection.

Daily Back Up of Data

GovernMENTOR provides on each application an option to back up your data files. Those clients who have NT have the ability to back up to the hard drive (we call "pseudo" back up), which is quick and easy. You can do this at any time, however you should always back up your data files at the end of each and every day to tape media using the "File-Save" command. In addition, you should periodically have a copy of your data files placed in a fire proof safe or off site in case of a disaster.

Since GovernMENTOR can operate on a variety of operating systems and hardware platforms, it is important that you follow the recommendations for saving your data files. If you don't have a copy of how to backup and reload your data base, please contact GSI.

Reloading data from Back up Files

If something wicked this way comes and you need to restore your GovernMENTOR data, you can always restore it from the backup copy you made. Whether it is on the "pseudo" backup or on tape media, when needed, it can save a lot of time and money. Communication is also a part in reloading. When many offices are utilizing and updating the same files, it is important to communicate with each other when reloading of data files is necessary. Everyone will need to know if their work will need to be redone.

A Word about Media Back up

It is a small price to pay for a data cartridge, (especially the 4mm Dat cartridges) in comparison to the stress and time spent doing work over. Be sure and have the tapes labeled with date and type of backup (not just the plastic cover). We have seen covers get switched and improper data reloaded.

Backing up: Helping us help you

The more frequent the back up, the quicker GSI can assist you in the recovery process. When things go wrong-they tend to come in groups. One mistake leads to another. Systematic backups will reduce support costs when recovery assistance is needed.