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Running head: ONLINE ASSESSMENTS & RECORD ACCESS

Online Assessments & Record Access

Raven Blansett

Arkansas Tech University


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Introduction

During the course of my degree, I partnered with my current employer to identify a

specific problem or need within our organization. Through a formal plan of action, I performed

a needs assessment and discovered the difficulties customers face when attempting to report

personal property or access records. Our organization also struggled with reaching the majority

of the public with important notifications in a timely manner. After identifying the area of need

and surveying participants, data was compiled and possible solutions were compared. Below is

summary of my proposal.

Online Assessments & Record Access

Arkansas residents are required by Amendment 71 to pay ad valorem taxes. Each year,

every resident must report their tangible property by May 31st to avoid late penalties. Values of

said property are determined by the General Assembly and residents are required to pay taxes on

20% of the value multiplied by the millage in which they are located. These taxes are distributed

accordingly to local schools, libraries, county road departments, and county general accounts.

County assessors are required to file a statement of reported personal property to the Treasurer of

State by June 5th.

The purpose of this project was to determine an easier way to report tangible property

and to make records more accessible for those with disabilities/handicaps. The problem is the

limited access to records and reporting property. The assessors office also struggles with

reaching the public with notifications. All access points to the assessors office are adorned with

stairs and accident occurrences have increased over the years.

To assess the needs of residents and question whether an online service would be used, a

survey was given to 22 residents. Of the participants, 19 returned a completed survey. Data was
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compiled and analyzed. A unanimous report was given on the emphasis of importance of record

accuracy by residents. Following this, residents were concerned with their lack of availability or

access points to the assessors office. Some of this was due to the hours of operation of the

office being simultaneous to their own employment hours. The surveys confirmed the belief of

relieving problems by making the process of assessing and viewing records available online. Of

the 19 participants, 4 were unsure if they would use this new service and 2 confirmed they would

rather continue to do report property and access records in person. The remaining 13 expressed

curiosity and excitement of the idea of online access.

The recommended action plan consisted of purchasing a program called

ScoutAssess. This program would allow residents to report tangible property and view records

online. This would also allow the assessor to reach any resident who submitted an email with

important notifications. The cost of the program was compared to the other options the assessor

faced, such as hiring an additional employee. The comparison showed the purchase of the

ScoutAssess would save the county over $15,000 a year. Ultimately, the purchase of this

program would eliminate problems faced by county residents, would be the more cost efficient

decision, and would allow the assessor to reach more residents with and news or other

notificiations.