Camden County tax abatement upgrade continues improvements to tax system
While it can be claimed that no one likes doing their taxes, Camden County has continued to work on making the process easier. The county has spent nearly $160,000 over the course of the last three years to improve their tax systems, including adding many features to their online portal to give residents easier access to tax information and forms from home.
In January, the county completed work on the initial installation of a new tax abatement system, which many county leaders say has been a boon for completing the abatement process. First district commissioner James Gohagan says that the need for the update was spawned by the county’s state audit report, which deemed their previous system as out of compliance. The county went to work with The Hunter Group LLC to update their existing systems. Now, Gohagan says they are not only in compliance, but in many ways ahead of the curve.
The process to file a tax abatement would previously have taken anywhere from days to a week to complete. The process requires the request to be signed off on by multiple offices within the county, including the county Assessor, County Clerk, county Collector and finally the county commissioners.
Camden County Assessor Marty McGuire says that this process used to require a lot of footwork by the Assessor’s office to track down these signatures and approvals, which used up a lot of time. With the newly installed system, this process can all be completed in the same day. The system streamlines the process by moving the abatement along to each department digitally, requiring simple digital signatures and then being passed to the next office.
“We want to keep people moving along with their days,” Gohagan said. “If it works the way it's supposed to, it makes it easier all around.”
As previously mentioned, this abatement upgrade has been part of a greater process to upgrade tax systems throughout the county. The abatement system alone cost the county up to $17,000. County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin says that there is still work to be done to completely overhaul the system, but that will come with time. For now, the core elements are in place.
Roberts Hunter, president of the Hunter Group LLC, has been a part of the tax system overhaul from the start. He says the county’s previous system ran software dated back as far as 1989. The software now has seen enough enhancements and updates to modernize the county and futureproof the system for many years to come. Much of the software runs services through the cloud, allowing for taxpayers to have much more transparent and direct access to their tax information online.
Hunter says that the work being done has been critical for the county. As more residents move to the area, the ability to work through complicated systems such as this in a quick and efficient manner are “invaluable.”