News Release: Linn County’s annual valuation report certified by Auditor


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 14, 2016

 Contact:  Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

(319) 892-5300

LINN COUNTY, IA – January 14, 2016 – Today, Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller announced that he has certified the County’s annual valuation report and you can view it on the Iowa Department of Management’s website.

Miller said, “Hurray it’s posted!  Again, I apologize for the inconvenience this delay has caused the cities, schools, and other taxing entities within Linn County.  Unfortunately, the problems my office confronted in completing the AVR this year are almost identical to the problems my office confronted in producing the AVR last year – see the Linn County Board of Supervisors 2/17/2015 meeting minutes.  Basically, we did the same things the same way and expected different results.  We filed this year’s AVR a day later than last year’s AVR (1/13/2015).  We lost ground and the public has a right to wonder if we know what we’re doing?  And if we know how to manage projects and our vendors?”

The Board owns every aspect of the property tax software/system except for the statutory duties it is used to fulfill.  Those are owned by the Auditor and Treasurer.

Miller says, “The public wants solutions – not bickering and not a blame game – and I agree.  I propose the following to the Board of Supervisors:  Immediately reassign Aumentum (the property tax software/system), two IT positions, and the budget to pay for the software/system/positions to my office and under my control through the November election.  If I don’t get the tax list certified to the Treasurer by August 1st and/or the Treasurer does NOT get the tax bills to the taxpayers by September 1st due to Aumentum malfunctioning, then the voters can decide my fate on November 8th.  Someone or some firm should have been fired by now, but since that’s not likely to happen, I’m giving my boss – the voters – the chance to fire me if I fail.  If the public agrees with my proposal, they should inform the Board.  If nothing changes, the public should not be surprised when history repeats itself.”

The County has spent at least $1.5M on property tax software, which does not include the County’s cost for employee overtime caused by lost productivity or the cost of the hardware for the system.

And finally Miller said, “Deputy Auditor Stacey Law has taken off three days since Thanksgiving.  She and her team are incredibly dedicated public servants and we would not have an AVR today without them.  We owe Stacey and her team our gratitude!”

Joel D. Miller was elected Linn County Auditor on 13 February 2007.  He was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.  He served on the Robins City Council from 2002-2007 as councilor (4 years) and mayor (2 years).  Miller was an IT Director for Four Oaks of Iowa for 3 years.  He was a senior project manager for Siemens ILG (now Trapeze) for 3 years and managed multi-million dollar projects in Detroit, Santa Monica, and other cities.  Miller managed projects and project managers as a Senior Manager at MCI Telecommunications and as a Director at Teleconnect.  You can view his profile on LinkedIn .

Here’s a brief chronology (not all inclusive) on the County’s property tax software/system as derived from the Board of Supervisor’s official meeting minutes:

06/27/05  Steve Troester hired as IT Director to replace Dean Ernst.  Troester’s goal:  To be off the Mainframe computer system by 2008.
12/19/07  Board contracted with Harris Corporation/PG Govern for $370,000 for property tax software.  Implementation date was 11/5/08  – Supervisors Barron, Langston, and Houser approved.
05/20/08  Phil Lowder hired as IT Director.
6/13/08  Flood.  Mainframe drowned.
06/25/08  Board signed contract with Unisys for $370,000 Mainframe replacement.
10/28/08  IT (Information Technology  – reports to the Board) sets new property tax software implementation date for 11/09/09.
09/09/09  IT states implementation date will not be met.
12/30/09  Board signs 24 month extension with Unisys for Mainframe.
06/30/10  Board signs contract with Manatron for property tax software for $1,162,896 – Barron, Langston, Houser, Rogers, and Oleson approved.  [Note:  Board terminated former contract with Harris Corp/PG Govern for unknown amount]
06/30/10  Board signed contract with Premis for project management services to ensure the timely implementation of the property tax software.  Cost is $224,640.
01/25/11  IT says Manatron go-live date will be in September of 2011.
10/25/11  IT says new go-live date is now October or November of 2012.
11/20/12  IT says new go-live date is sometime next year (2013).
11/27/12  IT says new go-live is June/July of 2013
[12/21/12 Auditor submitted AVR to Iowa Department of Management]
06/25/13  Manatron property tax software/system went live in November of 2013.  Premis (project management team) released by Board/IT.
[01/14/14 Auditor submitted AVR to Iowa Department of Management]
5/28/14    Board signs memo of understanding with Thomson Reuters, who acquired Manatron – Barron, Langston, Harris, Rogers, and Oleson approved.
12/2014  IT shuts down the Mainframe.  Treasurer and Auditor and others totally dependent on Manatron (later renamed Aumentum).  IT says Mainframe was supposed to be gone on 7/1/2014.
[01/13/15 Auditor submitted AVR to Iowa Department of Management]
[01/14/16 Auditor submitted AVR to Iowa Department of Management]
Here’s a brief chronology (but not all inclusive) list of dates in which the Auditor and/or his staff complained to and/or discussed problems with the Board regarding the property tax software/system per the Board’s minutes:  01/28/09, 02/09/09, 10/25/10, 01/04/12, 03/20/12, 03/19/13,  04/16/13, 06/25/13, 08/02/13, 08/20/13, 09/17/13, 09/23/13, 12/02/13, 01/21/14, 04/30/14, 06/04/14, 06/17/14, 07-21-14, 09-16-14, 10-21-14, 12-09-14, 12-16-14, 01-20-15, 02-17-15, 03-17-15, 03-25-15, 04-21-15, 05-11-15, 06-16-15, 11-17-15, and 12-15-15.   ### – Joel D. Miller -Linn County Auditor

LINN_Co_100_Pct_Valuations_By_Levy_Auth_By_Co_FY16-17 (2015 assessment year)LINN_Co_Txbl_Valuations_By_Levy_Auth_By_Co_FY16-17 (2015 assessment year)LINN_Co_Txbl_Valuations_By_Levy_Auth_By_Co_FY15-16 (2014 assessment year)LINN_Co_100_Pct_Valuations_By_Levy_Auth_By_Co_FY15-16 (2014 assessment year)



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