The Macon County Tax Office and Richard Lightner, Tax Administrator, have won their third state level award in the last four years (they have also won awards in 2006 & 2007). I was at the meeting and captured the above video of the award presentation.
From the Press Release:
On November 19, 2009, while attending the North Carolina Association of Tax Assessors meeting in Greensboro, Richard Lightner picked up the Joseph E. Hunt Distinguished Jurisdiction award for small counties. The award is given annually to counties and tax officials for achievement in areas of property tax assessment and/or collection, the implementation of a project or endeavors to enhance the overall effectiveness of a county tax department.
Macon County became the first county in the country to implement a third party software program (Yotta) in conjunction with it's CAMA System (Computerized Assisted Mass Appraisal) to be able to access and update all property records in the field. Other independent software did not exchange data back and forth with the county's older pick data based files. The cost of developing new software or buying existing software to replace the county's system would have been between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Macon County was able to accomplish the needed results for less than $25,000.
County Appraisers are now able to access all property cards, GIS maps, aerial maps, GPS location, property improvement pictures, sales data, zoning, flood maps, and other vital information. The records can then be updated with a series of menu driven screens and stored until it is uploaded in the county's main computer system. this system gives all appraisers the information they need at the property site they are reviewing.
These improvements continue the modernization of Macon County's records and service to the general public. Over the years, the Macon County Tax Office has been a leader in the state with technology development and implementation; property digital pictures being available on the web and in the field, electronic property maps and cards in the field, searchable database on the web, and now automation of data entry in the field.