It’s Vacation Time… Are You Prepared?

Vacations are meant to be an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of life. For Clerks and their Deputies, however, it can be a very stressful time for those left in the office.

One thing every clerk can do to help alleviate some of this stress is to make sure there is at least one MAAP Supervisor (which is different than having Avitar Clerk Supervisor capabilities) is in the office when he/she goes on their coveted vacation. This will alleviate many issues that come up when the Clerk/MAAP Supervisor is out, and we are unable to assist our client because they don’t have these special credentials. For example: creating Short Slips, processing peeling plates, and supervisor overrides, just to name a few.

To add another person as a MAAP Supervisor, you will need to contact the MA Helpdesk, as they have a form for you to fill out, that gives them permission to add someone as a MAAP Supervisor in your office. This also allows your Deputies and Assistants to be more confident in their positions while you are out of the office.

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Uploading Dog Invoices to Invoice Cloud

It’s that time of year again when additional late fees and civil forfeitures are assessed to dog invoices. We thought this would be an opportune time to remind you of the process to resend updated dog invoices to your Invoice Cloud portal for online payment, as well as the frequency with which you should do so. Continue reading

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Dog Civil Forfeitures and Licensing

The season of the dreaded Civil Forfeiture process for all dog owners who have failed to renew/license their dog(s) for last year is upon us. We wanted to remind you of an option we added to our Clerk software in our update 3.4.4.

Previously when a group of unlicensed dogs (for one owner) was assessed the Civil Forfeiture fee, one fee would be added to the group. We added the option to assess one Civil Forfeiture fee per dog in the group. To charge one Civil Forfeiture fee per dog, go to Utilities | System Administration | System Options | Dog Licensing tab. Select “Charge Civil Forfeiture Per Dog” and select Save.

The RSAs concerning the Civil Forfeiture process are very specific with regard to when you need to complete the steps. Please click on the following links for instructions on how to Print Forfeiture Letters & Assign Costs to Dogs, and to view a timeline of the Dog Civil Forfeiture process.

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Scroll Bar Issue

We’ve received several calls from users that are unable to use the scroll bar in certain areas of their Avitar software. If you are experiencing a similar issue, here’s what you need to know:

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Posted in Assessing Software, Building Permit Software, Clerk Browser Software, Clerk MAAP Software, Clerk/MV Software, Tax Collect Software, Utility Billing Software | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Delinquent Payment File Requests from Real Estate Service Companies

It is that time of year again. Time when the Real Estate Service companies (e.g. Corelogic, Wells Fargo, Lereta, etc.) are requesting your delinquent payment files be sent to them.

We get many calls for assistance with this procedure, and believe a short blog post will help you in this process.

To create and send these files:

  1. Open Tax Collect and log in
  2. Click Utilities | Real Estate Services | Export Invoices
  3. Choose All Property and Lien Invoices
  4. Check the box Only Export Unpaid Invoices
  5. Under Export Location, click Browse
  6. Choose your Desktop
  7. Click OK
  8. Click Export (this will create both a tretts.txt file and a treadme.txt file)
  9. Email BOTH files to the Real Estate Companies making the request

For more information, and to view some helpful screen shots, please follow this link to our online documentation: Export Invoices

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Creating Categories in Town Clerk Services

In our latest Clerk software update 3.4.4, we added the ability to add Categories to your Town Clerk Services. The Category option was added to help you organize and simplify the available services. For example, you have multiple services that all fall into the same Category (Beach Permits, Building Permits, Zoning Permits), you can now create a Category called Permits. After you add the Category, you will assign the individual services to their respective Categories.

Once categories have been added and services have been assigned, the next time you process a service, simply select the Category to display the available Services. Using our Permits example, when you are processing a service, such as a Building Permit, select the Category “Permits” to view your permit options.

For step by step instructions on how to add Categories and assign Services to those Categories, please continue to our online documentation: Create a Category.

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What Status Option Do I Choose When Processing an Online/Lockbox Error Transaction?

There has been some confusion regarding which Status option you should select when there is an error while processing Online/Lockbox batch files.

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Year-End is Right Around the Corner. Are You Ready?

As we receive a high volume of calls this time of year assisting Collectors in their Year-End Close, we thought it would be beneficial to write a short blog post to give you some guidance in preparation. Continue reading

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Avitar Tax Kiosk Update — Tuesday 11/24/2020

After the Tax Collect Internet Kiosk was migrated to a new website over the weekend many of you were able to upload your data on Monday. If you contacted us yesterday about being unable to upload your data and we were not able to follow up with you yesterday we will be doing so this morning. Those of you who were not open Monday should go ahead and try to upload your data this morning.

If you accept online payments on your kiosk…
At this time we have disabled the online payments options for each municipality. Our priority Tuesday will be working to enable these individually and verify that everything from the new website (biller IDs, certificates, etc.) directs properly to your payment process and back again. We will contact you individually when your portal is able to accept payments.

If you have the option for Paperless Notifications and PDF Invoices…
This function is not working right now and we won’t be able to address it until the online payments have been enabled. We recommend you do the following:

  • Print your bills as you would normally.
  • Export your bills to PDF as you would normally and just save them for now — you will not be able to upload them at this time but if you have the PDFs locally from the time you sent your bills we should be able to upload them retroactively.
  • In addition to printing your normal batch of bills you should print and mail bills for the group that is normally paperless. (There is a little PDF icon on the right to display the group of bills and you can print them as you would normally.)
  • Do not attempt to download/update your list of paperless recipients — you will get inaccurate or no results. Just leave these for now and we will address synchronizing the recipients later.

If you still need to upload your data for the first time this week…
You should attempt to do so this morning.

  • Start your Tax Collect program.
  • Upload your current data to the new website — “Utilities | Internet Kiosk… | Upload Data to Kiosk” and then press the “Update Kiosk…” button.
  • Email us at collectsupport@avitarassociates.com and tell us you have uploaded your data.
  • We will then be able to update the data and make your Tax Collect portal available — this might take an hour or two.
  • If you have problems uploading your data…
  • If you get an error saying you cannot connect, email us at collectsupport@avitarassociates.com as there were a few of you for whom we had to use new FTP credentials.

If you were able to upload your data yesterday…
Keep uploading your data as you would normally at the end of the day.

Again, we appreciate your patience and assistance.

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Availability of Some Avitar Web Sites

As many of you have heard, the servers that support Avitar’s websites were victims of a much larger scale and coordinated attack on the national hosting provider that hosts our websites. As a precaution, the provider was forced to take all of the websites they host offline. We are still waiting to be able to assess the full effect of this attack on our sites once connectivity is restore — there is a possibility that in the next few hours our original servers may be back online.

However, in the meantime we have been transitioning our websites over the last 48 hours to new resources as follows:

Avitar Assessing Kiosk

Publicly available assessment information can be found here. Note that we are still in the process of migrating our security certificates to these new servers so you may get a warning from your web browser that the site is not secure — for the time being we are making all information publicly available without subscription so even if you traditionally access the site using a user name and password for now select the Guest option. Also note that if you are a subscriber we will be extending your subscription by a month once the dust settles.

Avitar Motor Vehicle Price Quotes

Motor vehicle price quotes for the costs to register/renew motor vehicles in several municipalities is available here. We are updating this site with more recent vehicle/model years so in the case of recent vehicles your best option will be to enter the list price and model year of the vehicle. However, this site will be updated.

Avitar Tax Collect Kiosk

We are still working to restore this service — there are approximately 100 unique municipal sites within this portal, each with separate login credentials and configurations, and this is taking time. We hope to be able to provide more information and at least limited availability by Monday.

In General

It is worth reiterating that no credit card or payment information — whether for property tax payments made on the Tax Collect Internet Kiosk or for Assessing Internet Kiosk subscriptions — is ever maintained on any of Avitar’s servers. Additionally, there is no indication that any data has been compromised or misappropriated.

This is a fluid and ongoing situation and we apologize for the disruption this has caused all of us. We appreciate the patience and understanding many of you have already expressed.

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