How will the new IPTMS contract affect the State’s contract with NEMRC?
Currently the Department has a contract with New England Municipal Resource Center (NEMRC) for the Grand List Listing Program and Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) Program, known as Microsolve. For 2020 and 2021, there will be no change in the Grand List operations for towns.
The contract with NEMRC has been renewed through July 1, 2021 with an option to extend through July of 2022. The current timeline anticipates Go Live of the new State system in April 2022. The Department and NEMRC will continue to partner through 2022 to offer these services, and towns will continue to be able to contract directly with NEMRC for their CAMA and other municipal services.
Do I have to find a new system to replace NEMRC's other modules?
No, the recent announcement regarding the State's contract with Axiomatic to implement a statewide Grand List system does NOT impact the other services that the current vendor, NEMRC, provides. NEMRC offers a variety of services to towns which will continue uninterrupted. The new Grand List system under development will interact with existing systems, such as whatever towns use for tax billing, accounting, and computer assisted mass appraisal.
Our goal is to improve support, sharing of data, and interaction within our division and the towns using this product. It was not referring to NEMRC support.
NEMRC will continue to host and support their suite of programs. Towns currently contract directly with NEMRC for those and many other municipal services, and this contract does nothing to negate or change those contracts. The state’s Grand List software will be configured to transmit tax rate and exemption and Current Use data, for example, to each town’s billing, collection and administration modules.
Towns need Help Desk Support and Training. How will that change?
The Division of Property Valuation and Review (PVR) will continue to support towns through our Help Desk and District Advisor model. A key component of the contract with the Axiomatic is significant training and expanded help desk hours. In addition, Axiomatic will be required to hold multiple in-person and ongoing training opportunities, and provide 24/7 support for the system.
What about our CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) program?
Towns may continue to use the CAMA vendor of their choice. Axiomatic’s new system will provide a method to collect the data from various CAMA vendors, to make the collection of Grand List data as automatic as possible.
PVR plans to host a conference in 2021 to provide towns with exposure to the CAMA vendors. We will also explore establishing a statewide contract rate for towns with the CAMA vendors.
Why are you announcing this now?
Since PVR began this selection process in April of 2019, multiple events have been held to solicit input from representatives of the Vermont Association of Listers and Assessors, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and other impacted partners. We conducted site visits to other states that are using the various software vendors, and conducted an independent review under State requirements to assess the selection. The final selection is the result of over a year of rigorous evaluation of the eight vendors who initially responded to the RFP.
What happens next for towns?
In the initial phase of the project, PVR will collaborate with Axiomatic remotely, and this work will continue while towns are uninterrupted under the current Grand List contract with NEMRC. Towns will not be immediately impacted with any additional work at a time when they are managing responses to COVID-19.
What will this cost the towns?
Towns will not be charged to use the State's Grand List software. Training and IT support are covered under the state contract. Towns will no longer be billed for trainings related to the system, and help desk and phone support will be available to towns free of charge.
When can towns expect to get a demonstration of the new system?
In light of the COVID-19 restrictions, our plans for in-person demonstrations have been postponed. However, PVR will be announcing a virtual kick-off webinar at which towns will get an opportunity to see the system, to ask questions of the vendor, and to provide feedback. It is likely that we will host multiple demonstrations, and will provide the ability to participate virtually, or to access a recorded version at any time.
Are towns required to use the new system?
Yes, all towns will need to use this state-provided software to communicate with the Department of Taxes for the purpose of maintaining the statewide education grand list and administering the statewide education property tax system. A requirement of this software will be to interface with the various appraisal and accounting software systems that town use and pay for directly. Towns will be provided with the software and training to carry out this work at no charge.
What if towns use other vendors for Tax Administration and other non-property municipal software?
PVR and Axiomatic are committed to working with vendors of municipal service software to provide as automated, efficient, and easy-to-use exchange of data as possible. It will require cooperation from those vendors as well, which we do not anticipate being an issue.
What is the new system called?
Axiomatic's software program is called PropTax. PVR is going to work with towns to come up with the Vermont version of the system. Got an idea? Let us know.
How much will this cost the state?
The total cost of the five-year project contract is $1.6 million, with anticipated “go-live” of the system in late 2021 and early 2022. This software is part of the Department of Taxes budget and will not be charged to towns. According to the Independent Review conducted by the State's Agency of Digital Services, this contract actually provides long term annual savings compared to the existing structure, with significantly increased functionality.
Why did you select this vendor?
The final selection is a result of a rigorous evaluation process. Throughout this project the department solicited involvement and input from local officials. An independent review of the system also anticipates increased accuracy, improved customer service, greater system reliability, data security and privacy.
“Our selection of Axiomatic was highly influenced by their subject matter expertise, strong recommendations from their state clients and local assessing officials, and understanding of the needs of Vermont town and state users,” said Jill Remick, director of Property Valuation and Review and project sponsor. “The usability and support for town officials has been our first priority, and we are confident state and local officials will see great improvement in their interactions with our division and this product.”
“The department has been inclusive and sought feedback from our members throughout the process. We look forward to working with them in the coming years to make this transition a success for our members and all Vermont taxpayers,” said Maura Carroll, executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
Who is Axiomatic?
Axiomatic LLC is a national company based in New Hampshire, with strong client bases in the region. They have a wide range of customers in all levels of government, corporate and non-profits. They were founded in 2014 as a wholly owned New Hampshire Limited Liability Company (LLC) specifically to serve the software and consulting needs of property tax oversight agencies. Axiomatic’s principals hold memberships in numerous professional organizations, including the International Association of Assessing Officers, the Federation of Tax Administrators, and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. Axiomatic is committed to building the state property tax community nationwide to promote best practices and facilitate communication among industry professionals.
Learn more about Axiomatic LLC.
How can towns participate in developing the new program?
PVR has been contacted by multiple towns to act as pilot testers of the new system. In addition, PVR is establishing a committee of town representatives to participate in the development sessions with the vendor in the coming weeks and months. PVR will continue to participate in presentations, discussions, feedback sessions and ongoing discussions with towns throughout this process. Town voices are key to the success of this project. Please share your thoughts with us.