Editor’s note: Nationally, the prices of most homes are up. In fact 88 percent of U.S. metro areas saw median home prices rise in the third quarter of 2013 versus the same period in 2012 (National Association of Realtors).

But as home values grow, what often results is an increase in property assessments. County assessors nationwide have been faced with a rising number of questions from taxpayers on property values. The questions can often lead to an increase in disputes and a drain on county resources. While some counties have struggled, others have actually been able to reduce the number of disputes by taxpayers by moving their dispute processes online.

Below are the views of George Rooker, who is Assessor in Davidson County, Tenn.

Tightening budgets are requiring government agencies to “trim the fat.” Agencies are left searching for inventive ways to not only better serve taxpayers and improve satisfaction, but also improve overall efficiency.

In 2013, the Assessor of Property Office in Davidson County, Tenn., implemented a new online dispute resolution (ODR) system, Modria Resolution Center, to educate taxpayers on surrounding property values, provide a fast and fair way to appeal assessments and more efficiently process appeals online.

Since implementing Modria Resolution Center, we have seen a 50 percent reduction in informal reviews and can attribute part of this reduction to being able to better educate taxpayers through the Modria Resolution Center. We are able to direct taxpayers to values of other homes in their neighborhood. This helps them make more informed appeals and makes the review process more efficient for us.

Like many government agencies in the last few years, Davidson County was forced to reduce its staff because of budget cuts, but with tools like Modria Resolution Center, the assessor’s office was able to absorb the cuts. Our office saw a 20 percent increase in appeals filed online. Modria Resolution Center helps guide taxpayers through the appeals process and is easier and more convenient than filing in person. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback.

About Modria Resolution Center

The cloud-based platform provides online filing, electronic case files and management, electronic signatures, workflow routing, document management, and seamless integration with internal systems. Modria Resolution Center helps government agencies across the U.S. and Canada process both informal and formal appeals. The system was built based on deep expertise in ODR. The founders of San Jose, Calif.-based Modria designed and operated ODR systems at eBay and PayPal that resolve more than 60 million disputes per year.  

This video takes you through the process of creating a case on both the Modria Resolution Center and Mediation Room platforms.

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