The Woodward News

Local News

November 5, 2013

Raise to include election board officers

(Continued)

Woodward, Okla. — COMPUTER ASSISTED APPRAISALS

Also on Monday, the county board approved a service contract between the Woodward County Assessor's Office and Visual Lease Services, Inc. for the use of a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system.

While the Assessor's Office has utilized Visual Lease Services for gas and oil appraisals for many years, County Assessor Misty Dunn said this would be the first time her office would contract for other appraisals.

Dunn said her office has been using the state's system, "which is about 22 years old."

In comparison, she said the Visual Lease Services' CAMA system makes use of new technology to create a more efficient appraisal process.

"It's more of a cloud, Internet based system instead of the state system," she said.

Because of this, she said that her agents "can do their work in the field, drawing the sheds and new houses straight into the system.  Which will save a lot of time and possibly mistakes between what they see out there and what we see when they bring the information back to the office."

In addition, by making use of wireless capabilities, she said the new CAMA system, used on iPads, will allow agents to "go out and take photos and have them upload right to our office, where before they would spend 2 days just downloading photos from their cameras."

"With this new system, they can take an iPad out and do everything," Dunn said.  "We will have to purchase an iPad though.  And we may have to look at a wireless router box in the county vehicle for those areas where wireless is not available."

However, the county assessor believes that overall the new CAMA system will be more efficient and cost effective.

There is an initial set up fee of $6,000, along with an annual users fee of $9,000 for her whole office, Dunn said.  However, even at the first year cost of $15,000, she said the Visual Lease Services price was a lot less expensive than other companies.

"The $9,000 a year is really reasonable compared to what other companies charge," she said.  "There's a company called Patriot that Garfield County is using, which costs about $30,000.  And there's another company that I can't remember the name of that some other counties use and it costs more than Patriot."

Currently Texas County is the only other county in the area that is using the Visual Lease Services CAMA system, but Dunn said "Texas County says it works great."

"I feel like since the technology is available, we need to take advantage of it," Dunn said.  "If we were to continue doing it as we do now, it's not fair to the taxpayers. This will be much more efficient."

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