FFX has a better site than most city/county sites in the US, yet it is far from what it needs to be. There is too much trite on the Facebook page. I hide 90% of them, so annoying. It isn't twitter, please don't post every thought of every dept head. Some things need their own FB page. As an example, the FFX Fire and Rescue Dept support to FEMA aound the US, and to USAID and UN around the world, including Japan, is fantastic. However, after the first post, it should have it's own FB page.
Actions need to be simple, fast, efficient and secure. Everyone can see everyone's past taxes on the property tax page. However, to pay taxes, it's a mystery. At work, I told my programmers, if someone else wants to do my work or pay my bills, God bless them, but guaranteed nobody does. On this county tax admistrator pages, taxes are a mess. Better than most cities/counties, yet, a mess. Too difficult to find the place to meet the goal of Pay My Tax. I always end up calling on the phone due to so many issues. The goal is to end all need to call. Get rid of the stone age mentality, get rid of MAP numbers, taxpayer ID numbers. It's archaic. No more running around in circles on explanations of the history of taxes. I see a link for Paying Property Tax, and I end up on a history of the universe, which has a link to pay the property tax, and it sends me back to history of the life of adam and eve's need to set up a tax structure. Get the BS information under INFORMATION, so everyone can ignore it easily. Get Pay My Taxes under SUPER SIMPLE FAST EFFICIENT PAY TAXES SURELY and SECURELY - with no more BS about "first go to the mountain of junk mail in your garbage can and find that innocuous piece of mail with your latest TAX MAP number." Send out notices every month when taxes are past dues. The county calls me 100 times a day when the boss is up for election, get them on the phone bank to call people who need to know they're late for tax payment. They raise the taxes, they spend the money, they can get on the phone.
After years of suggestions, I sat down with a supervisor at the tax office and asked her to explain the paper form for automatic billing of my property taxes. Nobody could quite explain the confusion of the form. First off, it should NOT ONLY be on paper. It should be a check the box action online - simple, fast and as easy as paying my phone bill online automatically, or my Dominion Electric bill or my newspaper. After years of "we don't know how much to take from your account, so you have to tell us every year" and "the final taxes aren't known yet", I offered many examples of solutions. The banks know how much to take, for escrow payments every month, why not the county? Well, finally the county changed it, and it's better but, still needs the Fast, Simple, Efficient, Effective, Guaranteed and Safe - mentality instead of "that's too hard" mentality. The problem now is, that I get told it will happen if nothing goes wrong, but, I am not told if something goes wrong. NOTIFICATIONS are a small bit of computer code and can go for free to email or electronic IM. Then, they can go out by mail, too.
The site needs the art, skill and science of being 10x more simplified and 1000x more services. It's not easy, but that's why it's a skill, an art and a science. I'm confident anything that's good will get better, what's great will get magnificent.
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