Office of the Tax Collector
BOARD MEETING DATE:
Honorable Board of Supervisors
Lee Buffington, Tax Collector/Treasurer
Agreement with Acionyx, Inc.
Adopt a resolution to:
1) Waive the Request for Proposal process; and
2) Execute an agreement with Acionyx, Inc. for programming services in an amount not to exceed $472,720 for the period of 01/01/04 through 6/30/06.
During the month of August, 2002, Acionyx, Inc. provided systems programming for the development of a web based tax information and payment system. This system was to interface directly with the Tax Collector's Departmental AS/400 Tax System providing real-time tax information to the public. The purpose of this 30 day contract was to provide programming and architectural expertise for the development of such an application for the secured tax roll under the direction of the Tax Collector's Information Technology Manager. The application was developed and tested, but not deployed at that time due to departmental time and resource constraints.
When departmental constraints were no longer an issue, a contract was approved with Acionyx, Inc. to deploy the previously developed secured tax module as well as to provide systems programming and implementation expertise to deploy similar applications for the other tax rolls (supplemental, unsecured and tax-defaulted property.) These applications were also developed to interface with the Tax Collector's credit card payment processor, Official Payments.
Acionyx played a key role in the successful development and deployment of the Tax Collector's tax roll internet applications. In addition, the project was extended to include echeck or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment processing which was also successfully completed with Acionyx's programming expertise. Acionyx is currently providing systems programming for a special, expanded version of the internet tax roll application designed primarily for title companies to use on a subscription basis.
In response to the County Manager's initiative and in conjunction with ISD, the Tax Collector has developed a five-year strategic business plan. This plan spans the period from July 2002 through June of 2007 and includes projects that will not only enhance access to tax roll data and improve payment processing and reduce costs, but also build new interfaces with other County departments. Acionyx will play a key role in the successful outcome of these projects.
Acionyx, Inc. through its key role in the development of the current internet tax information system, has accrued a strong understanding of the Tax Collector's business and business systems. Due to the criticality of maintaining continuity in the development of these additional systems and in maintaining systems already developed, we believe a waiver of the request for proposal process would be in the best interest of the County.
Under this agreement , Acionyx will provide a programmer/architect with experience in the Java, RPG and CL languages in an IBM iSeries environment. The programmer/architect will support the development of new systems and the maintenance of existing systems. The programmer/architect will work under the direction of the Tax Collector's IT Manager and will hold no project management responsibilities. The programmer/architect will be responsible for completion of tasks assigned by the Tax Collector's IT Manager or Project Manager within the assigned time frame.
The projects in which Acionyx will participate can be classified in one of two broad areas: Those that benefit other County departments as well as the Tax Collector/Treasurer and those that primarily benefit the Tax Collector/Treasurer's operations. This includes collecting revenue for the County and its tax districts as well as providing timely and accurate information to the public.
The Secured Tax Roll Extension and Apportionment Projects can be classified in the first group. These projects will greatly benefit both the Controller's Office and the Tax Collector's Office and will also include improved interfaces to the Assessor's system.
The secured tax roll extension process performs three major functions: it provides the Controller with the facility to create the annual tax rates, multiplies the tax rates by the Assessor's property values and creates the Tax Collector's annual secured property tax roll. The Secured Tax Roll Extension Project will replace the old mainframe-bound application with a streamlined, flexible system that is seamlessly integrated with the Tax Collector's current secured tax system residing on an IBM iSeries computer. The new system also has direct interfaces to the Assessor's property system.
The Apportionment project similarly replaces the antiquated mainframe system with a system that resides on the Tax Collector's IBM iSeries and is fully integrated with the tax database. The new apportionment system will significantly improve the process of calculating, managing and distributing payments to schools and other tax districts.
Another project that falls into the interdepartmental classification that will rely on programming and analysis expertise provided by Acionyx is the Automated Secured Property Valuation Change Project. Currently when the Board of Supervisors approves a property value change, the change is entered into the Assessor's property system and a form is generated. The form is then carried to the Controller's Office where it is used to enter the same changes into the Controller/Tax Collector secured property system. This project will provide a facility to automatically transmit these value changes from the Assessor's system to the Controller / Tax Collector's system. The changes will then be applied directly to the affected tax bills. This project is a cooperative effort and has the support of all three fiscal Offices. The benefits of this project include elimination of manual tasks, acceleration of the value change process, more timely and accurate collections and a reduced need for taxpayer refunds.
In the County of San Mateo 2003 Recommended Budget, the Revenue Services Collections Unit of Employee and Public Services refers to another interdepartmental project to be hosted by the Tax Collector/Treasurer. The project is described as a direct payment deposit program with the Treasurer's Office. This project will provide a facility to print information on Revenue Services' remittance coupons that could be read by the Treasurer's remittance processing machines. The information would then be electronically returned to Revenue Services where it would be automatically posted to customer accounts.
Acionyx will also provide programming for a project that is planned to allow access to check and remittance coupon images over the intranet to authorized County departmental users. The images are currently captured and stored by the Tax Collector/Treasurer's remittance processing and image archive systems. Results of this project are expected to benefit all County departments that collect revenue.
Two other projects that affect the three Fiscal Offices are the rewrite of the existing Supplemental and Unsecured Tax Roll Applications.
The current Supplemental system was written more than 15 years ago and represents older, more restricted software architecture. The objective of this project is to analyze the requirements of the Supplemental tax roll and develop a software application that is consistent with the current Secured and Tax-Defaulted property systems on the Tax Collector's IBM iSeries. This project has the support and participation of the Controller, Assessor and Tax Collector Offices and is consistent with the Assessor's initiative to speed up the Supplemental billing process.
The current Unsecured Tax System was developed 11 years ago and represents the first generation of the Tax Collector's integrated systems (Unsecured, Secured and Tax-Defaulted Property rolls.) There have been a number of improvements that have been incorporated into the Secured and Tax-Defaulted property systems that need to be incorporated into the Unsecured Tax system including new interfaces to the Assessor's property system.
The remaining projects on the Tax Collector's Five Year Strategic Plan that will require the programming expertise of Acionyx are designed to improve Tax Collector/Treasurer productivity and bring enhanced value to the taxpayer.
· Redesign, reformat and consolidate tax bills saving the cost of bill printing and stock while providing added convenience for the taxpayer.
· Design and develop consolidated payment plans for all tax rolls
· Design, develop and implement paperless checks from remittance processing to the bank (convert paper checks to ACH transactions per new NACHA rules. This is expected to reduce banking costs, speed deposits and reduce paper handling.)
ISD has reviewed this agreement and the Tax Collector's Five Year Strategic Information Technology Plan that it supports.
ISD has no available resource with the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform the function provided by Acionyx under this agreement.
Acionyx, Inc.'s participation in this project is in alignment with the following Board of Supervisor's Visioning Goals:
1. Government decisions are the result of careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain.
2. County and local governments effectively communicate, collaborate and develop strategic approaches to issues affecting the entire County.
The three year contract with Acionyx, Inc. will cost a total of $472,720.00 . This is already included in the Tax Collector's budget and will be funded in part by AB589 (Property Administration Grant Program) funds.