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Use of county website increases

Date: Jan 1, 2014; Section: Top of Utah; Page: 1B

By CATHY MCKITRICK

Standard-Examiner staff

 

OGDEN — Weber County’s property tax website contains so much information that one user said that it “sometimes feels like I’m inadvertently snooping.”

But Ogden resident Dan Schroeder said he also finds it very valuable.

“I think it’s a tremendous resource and I find myself using it several times a year,” said Schroeder, who serves as conservation chairman of the Ogden Sierra Club.

According to Weber County officials, public use of the online resource has skyrocketed in recent years, registering an annual 200,000 to 300,000 logins in its early years but clearing 1 million in 2012 and climbing to 1.2 million in 2013.

 

“We are excited for two reasons,” Weber County Treasurer John Bond said in an online statement. “First, this website gives our taxpayers easy access to their property tax information and provides immediate answers to many questions concerning their property. Second, our business community, banks and credit unions, along with title and mortgage companies are more efficiently and effectively transacting business.”

 

A perusal of property yields more than a dozen years of tax data, recent Google photos, building characteristics, area plat maps, ownership information and whether someone has fallen behind in paying the tax man.

According to Bond, the number of property owners who pay their taxes online has also risen dramatically. That convenience first became available in Weber County in 2006, and 622 such tax transactions were conducted for a total of $726,399 remitted electronically. In 2013, the county received more than 5,700 online property tax payments that brought in over $9 million.

 

The property tax website has been active for a decade, Bond said, but efforts to beef it up began in earnest about seven years ago.

“We scanned nationally for the best websites we could find,” Bond said. “Then we took those good ideas to see if we could do them here.”

Weber County’s user-friendly resource has decreased the number of phone calls Bond’s office receives from 15,000 in 2007 to below 6,000 today. That reduction allowed the Treasurer’s office to get by with fewer staff and more part-time employees, Bond said, thus trim- ming their bottom line.

“It has helped the public tremendously,” because the site is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Bond said.

 

For Schroeder, the site provided a way to determine which properties are private or public along Ogden’s extensive trail system, and also helped him double-check figures that were part of an Ogden transit study a few years ago.

“I’ve used that site quite a bit in order to become better informed about land-use policies and decisions,” Schroeder said.

For a link to the Weber County property tax website, visit this story at www.standard.net.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at@catmck.