From the Desk of Marshal Rogers
I hope this newsletter finds you all well and that you’re enjoying your summer. Summer calendars have a tendency to fill up quickly, so I wanted to be sure to ask that you “Save the Date” for our upcoming Washington Users Conference in August! The event will take place August 21-23 at the Confluence Technology Center in Wenatchee, WA again this year. All meetings will be held from 9am to 5pm each day and lunch will be provided. Stay tuned for further details and registration information in your inboxes soon. We value your business and look forward to meeting with you in August!
On that note, I wanted to take a moment to personally thank each of you for your relationship with us. We are dedicated to continuing our mission to support the T1 and T2 products into the future, and appreciate the opportunity to be able to do so. As always, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or one of our support staff if you have any questions at any time.
Thank you again and we’ll see you in August!
T1 – Historic Records
Before you begin to work on updating properties in the working file it is important to create your historic files. This should be done in mass prior to beginning the new work. You can create all your historic files at one time, and then if changes are made due to BOE changes you can create those records individually updating the existing record.
In mass: From the main menu select Program Maintenance, Appraisal Maintenance, Write Data To History File.
Individual Parcel: Select Edit, Update Historic File from the Working file.
For more information on creating historic records see A_NE_HistoricAppraisalRecords user notes sent via e-mail 3/1/13.
T1 – Marshall & Swift Costs
The 2013 Marshall & Swift Cost files are now ready! You will be receiving an email informing you of the procedures for requesting the cost file as well as the Cost Policy Supplement and Policies and Procedures Document. Once we have received your request we will place the file on your server and send you a set of instructions for importing these costs. Please be sure to check your email inbox and junk mail to be sure that you received it. If your email address has changed please contact email@example.com so that we may update our records.
T1 – Update of Taxpayer Name and Address
During the year the Assessors and Treasurers offices receive updates and changes to the names and addresses stored within the TerraScan system. From time to time we get questions around how this part of the system functionality works. So here is a little background.
The statement file address updates only in one of two ways:
1. When the statement roll is created by the assessor and fed to the treasurer, the master name and address file / parcel file / statement file are all updated to the same information.
2. The statement file address can be updated independently through the year so that if a second half statements or other notice are needed it can be generated for the new address.
Please note that when the parcel file address is updated it does not feed to the statement file address. The reason for this is the statement address is considered a historic record for the year. That way the treasurer’s office has a record of the way that the statement is sent out regardless of the changes that occurred during the year. If a separate change is made to the statements file address an edit log is created and you will have a record of the date and exact change made to the file so that they can again prove where things were sent.
Our best practice suggestion is that the respective Assessor and Treasurers office keep a list of the name and address changes that they complete on their respective sides of the system and provide that information to the other office on a routine schedule. That way both side of the system will remain in relatively consistent condition throughout the year.
T2 – Mosquito Miscellaneous Assessments
During the last year a number of changes have been made to the Mosquito Misc Assessment to accommodate more complex fashion of calculating said assessment. The changes are as follows:
1. The “Parcel Rate” and “Acre Rate” fields have been added to the 22000 Misc Assessment Definition form so that users may define a per parcel and per acre rate if they so desire.
2. The “Levy Rate” field has been increased to display up to 6 decimal places of precision.
3. Calculation of the Mosquito misc assessment now uses the following logic:
(Assessed Value * Levy Rate) + (Parcel Rate) + (Acres * Acre Rate)
a. If users wish to calculate only by the Levy Rate, they do not need to define the “Parcel Rate” and “Acre Rate” fields on the 22000 Misc Assessment Definition form.
4. The “Parcel Rate”, “Acres”, and “Acre Rate” fields have all been added to the Misc Assessment formslice on the 30000 Real Property form.
a. The “Acres” is an editable field that users may enter any numeric value.
b. The “Acres” field will be recalculated during a parcel copy, split, combine, or subdivide IF the base parcel has Acres listed in the Mosquito Assessment on the 30000 Real Property summary form.
T2 – Error Messages
Please let us know when you get error messages. Recently one county notified us that they were occasionally getting the general error message in Owner Receipting. We were able to quickly find the cause and get the fix out. Examining error logs showed that a majority of the counties had gotten this error, some as much as 2 months prior to when it was reported.
T1/T2 – Making a Successful Conversion
We are moving along quickly to finish converting all of our Washington T1 clients over to T2. As we begin this process in your county, we have a few tips for you to help make this a successful transition.
Data Discussion: Our conversion specialists will be going through your data early in the process to make sure that everything conforms to the standards of T2. They may have some questions for you to answer, and might need you to clean up some data issues. This is very important. This allows us to create a clean conversion, maintaining all of the information you need while eliminating problems before they cause major issues.
Online Training: Our training specialist is providing a number of online webinars covering many topics in T2 and how T2 differs from T1. These training sessions have proved to be a valuable tool for getting our clients ready for the transition. The more training your staff gets prior to the changeover, the better prepared they will be.
Report Review: In this step we will give you a set of reports from T2 and a corresponding T1 setup so that you can compare the conversion for yourself. This will allow you to check those troublesome parcels that always complicate matters, and find any issues before we finish the conversion. It also will give you a better sense of confidence in the process. The more time you can devote to the report review, the better the conversion process will run.
These steps have proved to be invaluable in our past conversions. We find that these allow our clients to be better prepared for the conversion, and also help to improve the outcome. Please consider devoting as much time as you can to these steps and we can make this a smooth transition for everyone involved.
T2’s Costing Engine
The T2 Costing Engine is not simply the Marshall & Swift Residential and Commercial estimator. It is also an Agricultural Estimator. If your county is presently encoding Farm or Ag-Commercial outbuildings and related structures as T2 Miscellaneous Improvements primarily or exclusively, you may wish to consider eventually migrating to the use of T2 Ag/Commercial occupancies and Components for same.
One of the benefits of doing so is that as building size increases, and shape varies, costs also vary.
When entering a Light Commercial Utility Building as an Agricultural occupancy, given height, perimeter or shape, and square footage entries made, T2 Catalog will automatically adjust for each. In so doing, the estimate derived may more accurately reflect a true present-day replacement cost for a building – better estimate declining marginal return / economies of scale.
For example, whereas a 30 x 40 Shop building with a 12 foot eave height may have a per square foot cost of $20.97 per square foot, perhaps an irregular overall 200 x 400 shop, even with a likely taller eave height and some irregularity in shape should have a significantly lower cost per square foot. This is perhaps more easily captured by entering as an Ag/Commercial occupancy.
When beginning work in a new roll year, and establishing new valuation strategy, you may wish to give this consideration.
T2 – Help Us Help You!!!
Sometimes an email will come into the support email with a screen shot of an error message and nothing else. This means that the solution to your issue is going to take longer than hoped because we have to ask a lot of basic questions. This back and forth to gather the information takes time and sometimes can make what would have been an easy solution take longer as we try to get the full picture. So, help us help you and when you have an issue please do the following:
1. Send the issue to T2 Support.
• If you send it to an individual’s mailbox and they are on vacation for the next two weeks it won’t get seen or picked up until they are back.
2. Enter something helpful in the Subject Line
Ex: Blank County, WA: Error when saving receipt.
• This lets us know what county is having the issue and lets us begin determining who might be the best resource to help solve the issue.
3. Give us details
• Screen shots are great, but sometimes they are small and hard to read if you can give us the details it will help us out
a. What form were you on
b. What record were you working with (ID / parcel #/ statement #)
c. What happened?
d. What result did you expect? (the values off… what did you thing the value would be and how did you come to that answer)
e. What did you do right before the error or problem?
4. Who do we need to talk to about this issue?
• If you are not the person who experience the issue or if we need to work with someone else let us know up front
Bonnie Troutt, Applications Support Analyst, has been with the company for 3 and a half years. Her main area of focus is the T2 Treasurer Support. She is currently also doing the treasurer conversions from T1 to T2 for the state of Washington.
Bonnie enjoys a good challenge including troubleshooting, searching for clues related to bugs or data anomalies and why something doesn’t balance when it should. While Bonnie spends around 60 hours a week on the computer, in her spare time she likes to travel, especially to tropical areas and historic places. She can’t live without her family, music, travel, seafood…and of course dark chocolate.