Tax Office puts property records online
by Chris Berendt Staff Writer
In an ongoing effort to make vital land records readily available to county citizens, the Sampson County Tax Office has announced the addition of its Public Care Site, just another step taken by the department in bringing information to everyone’s fingertips.
The public care website can be found by going to sampsonlandrecords.com and clicking on “Property records search.” The site gives citizens the ability to obtain all of their real property information, including access to property record cards.
It is all there for public disposal.
And the addition of the Public Care Site, which went live Friday, comes on the heels of citizen self service, an online bill look up and pay site brought to the public a year ago.
“The tax office is extremely excited about the public care site,” said Sampson tax administrator Jim Johnson. “When the (Board of Commissioners) approved our software upgrade in mid-2011 we stated that one was goal was to give more information to the public that could be easily accessed. Our first phase was the Citizen Self Service and now we have our property assessment web page that went live this past Friday.”
At the new site, visitors can search property owners by name and get a listing of parcels, property characteristics, valuation of the land, any buildings on it and the total taxable real estate, as well as any recorded transactions such as sales of the property in the past.
“Already, we are receiving positive feedback from local attorneys, banks and appraisers which see this care site as a tool that will make their tasks easier and more efficient,” said Johnson. “Any information that the Tax Office has now can be obtained by the taxpayers at home or in their office. Hopefully, for the 2015 tax listing year, we will be able to offer an online business listing service that will enhance the Tax Office even more.”
For a year now, the public has already has been able to access tax bills and make payments online through the Citizen Self Service program on the county’s website, at www.sampsonnc.com. By going to “Tax Office E-Services” at the Quick Link drop menu, and then following the link to Citizen Self Service, where all paid and unpaid tax bills for real estate, personal property and motor vehicles can be viewed or paid.
Those payments will be credited by the next business day and convenience fees apply to all web payments.
The online payment options are another way to extend easy access to citizens, Johnson has said. That option has been available since November 2012 after discussions about the importance of providing more reliable and up-to-date information — and more online options — to local property owners.
Up until last November, the only bills citizens could access were unpaid property bills. County officials have lauded the Tax Office with making improvements that make necessary tax-related situations convenient for citizens.
“Now, any tax bill that we have in our system, whether paid or unpaid — it doesn’t matter what kind, if it’s personal property, motor vehicle, real property — those bills can be accessed by the general public as well,” said Johnson. “There’s just a lot more information on this new website that is available to the public that they’ve never had access to before without coming into the office and getting it.”
Now, the same can be said for property records.
That is thanks to the CAMA (computer-assisted mass appraisal) software that brought specific soil classifications and real-time tax updates into land appraisals, while in the process alleviating years of tedious double-entry by staff and tax bill errors that come with that.
Last year, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved purchasing the CAMA software at an annual cost of $101,000 for six years. The board voted to set aside money to fund the needed software in 2011, budgeting $200,000 in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 to pay for the roughly $600,000 overhaul.
The software upgrade has sought to enhance revenue collection, increase Tax Office efficiency and correct duplicate data entry and errors within the Tax Office’s antiquated system, county staff has said. They said that without double-entry, steps could be cut out and improvements already made, such as the Geographic Information System, could be built upon.
It also has allowed for those real-time tax updates and years of property records to be put out for public consumption. Johnson said the most recent of those public efforts, the Public Care Site, is expected to be brought to the Board of Commissioners later this year.
“We are currently nearing the end of our software conversion and hope to update (commissioners) and demo the Public Care Site in the December meeting,” said Johnson.
For more details, contact the Sampson County Tax Office at 910-592-8146 and ask for the real estate department, or visit sampsonlandrecords.com.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.
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