Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Tax Collector/Treasurer








Honorable Board of Supervisors


Lee Buffington, Tax Collector/Treasurer


Request for Approval of an Agreement with Independent Contractor, Garrison Consulting for business systems analysis, design and project management and for waiver of Request for Proposal process.



Adopt a resolution authorizing the President of the Board of Supervisors to

a) enter into an agreement with Garrison Consulting to perform business systems analysis, design and project management services in the amount of $567,720.00 for the period of July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2007

b) waive the Request for Proposal process



Beginning in September 1998, Karen Garrison of Garrison Consulting was engaged to provide business analysis and project management for the installation of a newly developed Secured Tax System on the Tax Collector's IBM AS/400 computer. Later, Karen was asked to manage the selection and installation of a remittance processing software imaging product. Both projects were completed successfully, on time and within budget. Starting in January 2001, the County contracted with Karen to document and analyze the workflow in the Tax Collector's Office as well as to perform an analysis of the Office's document management requirements. These projects resulted in the automatic production of notices, letters and other documents to taxpayers as well as workflow process improvements. In July of 2001, Karen was asked by the County Manager and the Treasurer to manage a joint project with the Treasurer's Office and the San Mateo County Medical Center. This project successfully transferred mailed payment receipt from the Medical Center to a P.O. Box managed by the Treasurer's Office. This "lock-box" solution resulted in vastly accelerating the deposit of Medical Center payments. As part of the same project, Karen was instrumental in getting high dollar agency payments (such as California State EDI payments) converted from paper checks to direct deposits into the County's bank account. She also managed a project to redirect the movement of payments collected at clinics. Prior to the completion of this project, payments that were collected at a clinic were sent to the Medical Center and then on to the Treasurer's Office. This project resulted in the transfer of cash from the clinic directly to the Treasurer's Office. In addition to these projects, in September 2001, Karen was asked to assist in the management of two joint projects with the Controller's Office: the Extension of the Secured Tax Roll and Tax Apportionment projects. These projects involve extending the functionality of the Secured Tax System on the Tax Collector's AS/400 to replace the existing mainframe processes. Karen has also managed the successful development and installation of the Tax Collector's Internet Website and Property Tax System including tax payment by credit card and e-check (online check entry.)

Karen Garrison of Garrison Consulting has contributed significantly to the successful development and installation of business solutions that have benefited not only the Tax Collector/Treasurer but also the Controller and the San Mateo County Medical Center over the past five years. The installation of the new secured tax system has resulted in numerous cost reductions and savings in ongoing charges associated with the mainframe combined with increased accessibility and availability of secured tax bill information to the public and other County departments. The installation of the Tax Collector's new remittance processing system has resulted in record one-day bank deposits and greatly shortened collection periods resulting in the virtual elimination in staff overtime hours and a reduced reliance on extra help. Also, the almost instantaneous retrieval of check and tax bill stub archived images has greatly reduced the time spent researching tax payments recorded on microfiche and/or microfilm. The creation of the Tax Collector's new website featuring online payment of tax bills using credit cards and e-check has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of telephone calls, walk-in inquiries and payments made over the counter or through the mail. Information gathered during the workflow project has laid the basis for a number of future process improvements. Karen Garrison's extensive knowledge of the Tax Collector/Treasurer's business and technology acquired over the past six years is an invaluable asset to the County of San Mateo.

The current agreement with Garrison Consulting for $408,680.00 was entered into in January 2002 and expires on June 30, 2004.



The objective of this request is to provide project management and business systems analysis and design services for the information technology and business workflow improvement projects to be sponsored by the Tax Collector's Office over the next three years. Since Karen Garrison of Garrison Consulting has performed these services for the Tax Collector's Office over the last six years and has thereby gained extensive knowledge of the Office's business and systems, a waiver of the Request for Proposal process is also respectfully requested.

In response to the County Manager's initiative and in conjunction with ISD, the Tax Collector has developed a Five Year Strategic Information Technology 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. Garrison Consulting will play an essential role in the successful outcome of these projects as well as in providing ongoing support of the Tax Collector and Controller's mission critical property systems.

Garrison Consulting will provide project management and business analysis for the following projects that are specified by the Tax Collector/Treasurer:

    · Implement Controller's Secured Tax Roll Extension

    · Implement Controller's Secured Tax Roll Apportionment

    · Conduct Feasibility Study on the Cost/Benefit of Accounts Receivable Check Conversion

    · Business Process Reengineering and Application redesign for the Supplemental Tax Roll

    · Analysis, Design and Implementation of Automated Assessor Valuation Changes for the Secured Tax Roll

    · Unsecured Tax System Rewrite

    · Redesign, Reformat and Consolidate Tax Bills

ISD has reviewed this contract and the Tax Collector's Five Year Strategic Information Technology Plan that it supports. ISD has no available resource to perform the functions provided by Garrison Consulting.


Vision Alignment

Support for this agreement aligns with your Board's Shared Vision 2010 commitments of ensuring responsive, effective and collaborative government by helping achieve the following goals:

20. Government decisions are based on careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain.

21. County employees understand, support and integrate the County Vision and Goals into their delivery of services.

22. County and local governments effectively communicate, collaborate and develop strategic approaches to issues affecting the entire County.


Fiscal Impact

The three-year contract with Garrison Consulting will cost a total of $567,720.00. Current year funding is included in the Tax Collector's Budget and is funded in part by State Grant funds (AB589.) Future year funding will be included in the Tax Collector's Budget for each year of the contract.