Osage assessor’s office modernizes service delivery
That gasoline you used to burn when you made the drive to Pawhuska to visit the county Assessor’s Office and dicker with the staff about your property values? Burn it no more; you can do everything on your phone.
The Osage County Assessor’s Office is now online for taxpayers in a way it never has been before. Taxpayers can use the webpage to look at records, download forms and use a link to visit the Assessor’s Facebook page to ask questions. Look for the webpage at https://osage.okcounties.org/offices/county-assessor, and get started when it suits you. All deadlines of which you need to be aware are on the website.
Ed Quinton Jr., the new county assessor, wanted to make this change when he ran for office last year. He promised to make things better for taxpayers, but he wants you to know he’ s no miracle worker. There are still glitches in the system; there are still incorrect records and values to address. If you find what you think is a mistake, get in touch so someone can help you.
Quinton also wants you to know he isn’t fixing things by himself.
“I didn’t do this by myself,” Quinton said. “It’s this office. One person cannot do this.”
One of the steps toward improvement has been changing software. Quinton explained that LandMark, the new assessment management software he chose to use, was a technical upgrade but Osage County got it for an initial rate of $24,000 a year, roughly $12,000 a year less than it would have cost to stay with the old system.
Osage County is also in a position to benefit a great deal in long-term savings on the software once the state adopts LandMark as its system, Quinton said. He explained that LandMark Governmental Systems, Inc., which developed the software, has won the state bid and the state of Oklahoma is in the process of getting ready to offer the software statewide. The state is planning to pay the cost of using it, so at some point in the relatively near future Osage County could be getting the product for free.
Another aspect of the transition is that the Osage County Assessor’s Office will be converting from the mapping system it used with the old software to a mapping system that will be integral to the LandMark system and is not anticipated to be an extra expense. That savings has not yet been realized, Quinton said, but his office is working in that direction.
Quinton gives particular credit to his first deputy, Jordan Lunsford, whose picture appears along with his on the new website, but he also notes that LandMark GSI has worked with his office to build the website; and he explains that when he first took office a little more than six months ago, he hired Tri County Tech to offer classes for his staff on leadership, communication and cross-training. That investment has already paid dividends, he said.
Quinton observed with a quiet smile that during a long newspaper interview, his telephone never rang.
“Before, the phone just rang and rang and rang, and we’ve slowed that down a lot,” he said. Instead, the Assessor’s Office is getting a lot of electronic messages. The public interest is still there, but the mode in which it is expressed is changing.
Other things to remember — the Assessor’s Office does not set tax rates, calculate taxes or accept tax payments. Its business is that of determining property values.