Well as most of you know, Gary has semi-retired and is living in Florida. As I know many of you had grown accustomed to his rants over the years, I wouldn’t want to break tradition and, as such, it is with great pleasure that I present you with my current rant. The DRA monitors have been out in full force urging assessing clerks to train and learn the State’s new Mosaic program. I have several problems with this. Under the rules established by the Assessing Standards Board, only an Assessor or Assessor Supervisor is qualified to verify sales. Pushing the assessing clerks to verify sales in the Mosaic program would appear a direct violation of the law. As all of the sales and ownership information is already entered by the assessing clerks and then verified by the Assessor, the information is already in your assessing program. To log in to their program and re-do all of the work already completed is double entry and an inefficient use of Town time and money.
This data exchange should have been electronically enabled, saving data entry work for the DRA, as was recently done with the MS-1. For several years, we have been recommending that the DRA add a separate data import/export feature in Mosaic to eliminate this double entry/work. Instead they chose to use a GIS export function built into the Avitar assessing program. However, this function was designed for GIS applications and not for DRA use with Mosaic and, as such, lacks the information necessary to function properly for equalization.
Consequently, I have informed the DRA that we will be submitting all of the sales information as required by law but that we would not be entering any data into their Mosaic program. I can see no benefit to the Towns other than added time and cost to do this function. Further, there is no statutory provision that would force the Town to do this added work. While I cannot stop someone from learning this program, nor do I wish to, I fail to see the benefit to any community. The DRA is using this program to perform the equalization duties of the commissioner and they are attempting to use assessing clerks around the State as their own data entry staff. They have shifted the burden to local communities in other areas (e.g. State forms like the yield tax are no longer provided and now Towns must copy to the appropriate parties and email to the State) and this is merely an attempt to further reduce their time and costs at the expense of the Town. As such, I stand vehemently opposed. We will continue to provide the information as required under the Law and to serve the best interests of all of the communities we serve and we will work diligently to cut costs and eliminate waste.