Now that you have that wonderful Crystal report, how can you send it to someone? Many times users want to share the report on their screen with someone else but without printing it. There is a very simple solution built into Crystal reports.
In the upper left corner you will find an export button, just select it to save the report in another format. Use the dropdown for “Save to type:” to select PDF, Excel, Word or Rich Text Format.
Included with each new release of the Property Data Systems (PDS) software there are several helpful enhancements which most of the time have been requested by our user base. These enhancements are documented in the release notes which are sent out to all users. Unfortunately they are sometimes missed when reading the notes.
In the latest PDS software release there is a useful trick to getting to the Assessment Master screen. While on the Assessment Search screen, a simple right mouse click on the SA number in the detail grid will open a pop up shortcut to allow you to go to the Assessment Master Information screen for that SA number.
Minnesota Department of Revenue released a new version (2.0) of their Market Condition and Assessment Tool (MCAST) to assessors. MCAST is a tool created by the Department of Revenue to use when setting assessment levels. It provides information on time trends, median ratios, and other assessment statistics such as the coefficient of dispersion, price related differential and price related bias. Assessors are required to use this tool when submitting their sales data to the Department of Revenue.
Due to some forward thinking of LOGIS development staff to make the interface into MCAST dynamic, no programming changes were needed for the new version of MCAST. After some testing and one minor change to the MCAST graphing feature, it was released to the assessors to use.
Each year the assessing staff receives requests from private vendors for public information about property characteristics for commercial, industrial, residential and multi-family properties. This year the Assessors decided the reporting should be standardized so everyone reports the data in the same format in the future.
Using Stonefield Query as the data extraction tool, four files can be created for each member and transferred to the requesting vendor. The files are in CSV format so they can easily be opened by the vendor with Excel. This process has been copied to each member for reporting next year.
The City of Lakeville was in need of ways to streamline procedures and reduce the number of phone calls taken by their Special Assessments department. Mainly they were looking to reduce the number of calls for information about special assessments for property.
LOGIS staff proposed the use of the eProperty application, a web based real time assessment lookup tool. eProperty allows the general public to lookup current and pending assessments for their property, eliminating the need to call City Hall.
The City of Lakeville liked what eProperty had to offer and the fact it accessed information in real time. After testing and just a few wording changes, Lakeville went live at the beginning of May.
For more information about eProperty or for a demonstration, contact LOGIS support staff.
Each year the City Assessors from our five assessing members are required by law to send by mail a Property Valuation Notice to each property owner. The Minnesota Department of Revenue sets the format of the layout and the assessors must adhere to this format. This year again, our members sent out over 100,000 Property Valuation Notices.
Working with a local mailing service to meet both postal standards and MN DOR standards, these notices were sent out at the lowest possible cost.
The next step for the assessors is to create their new assessment year (2016) in PDS and start working on the property values for the next year.
With the turnover of city staff who handle property owner changes, there has been much confusion of when to enter a new owner as future and when to enter them as current.
The main point to remember is: who is the owner as of January 1st of the Assessment Year we are working on.
The system was developed to handle the time period from January 1st to when a new assessment year is created. During this time period new owners should be entered as future. Once the new assessment year is created, the process to move “Future to Current” should be run and from that point on until January 1st of the following year the owners should be entered as current. Once again we would start entering new owners as future until the next assessment year is created.
To illustrate: We create assessment year 2015 in May 2014. We run the “Future to Current” to move all future owners to current owners in assessment year 2015. Now thru December 2014 (and into 2015) we are working on assessment year 2015, we would enter new owners as current until January 1st. On January 2, 2015 we would start entering new owners as future until assessment year 2016 is created. Creating the new assessment year is usually done in the April/May time frame and is decided by the Assessor. Once assessment year 2016 is created, we would run “Future to Current” which would move all future owners to current owners in assessment year 2016. Now we enter new owners as current until January 1, 2016. The process starts again entering new owners as future until assessment year 2017 is created.
Each year LOGIS PDS Assessors are required to report Sales Ratios to the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MNDOR). Last year a new process to report these Sales Ratios was mandated by way of a T-Calc spreadsheet developed by MNDOR. This was a multi-step process consisting of: generation of the Sales Ratios report, export this data to an excel spreadsheet, copy the data from the excel spreadsheet and past it into the MNDOR T-Calc spreadsheet. LOGIS programmed the ability to automate the process by exporting the Sales Ratios directly into the spreadsheet for the assessors.
This year MNDOR updated the T-Calc spreadsheet and created the new MCAST spreadsheet for reporting Sales Ratios. The format of the spreadsheet had changed so LOGIS quickly programmed and tested the changes. The assessors were once again back in business with an automated process.
Recently LOGIS successfully completed a disaster recovery test of the Property Data & Special Assessments applications.
Annually LOGIS staff review and update all disaster recovery documentation, then preforms a test to verify we would be able to bring the applications online from the recovery site. In the event of a major disaster LOGIS needs to know the applications are able to run from the recovery site and we have everything in place to meet current business requirements.
These tests help LOGIS staff ensure we would be able to recover with minimal application downtime.
Discussions about how to make LBAE (Local Board of Appeal and Equalization) and Contact Tracking modules more useful tools is about to bring on some major changes.
A group of City PDS staff met at LOGIS to discuss what changes were needed. They decided it would be best to combine the two into one module with two parts, sharing information between the two parts. The design and recommendations were handed over to LOGIS staff for programming changes and testing.
The new and improved module will be included with many other enhancements in the next PDS release.