Tuesday, September 22, 2009

City can't assess property tax

From the NY Post:

The city's Finance Department last week mothballed its useless new $4.3 million property-appraisal computer system, The Post has learned.

"It's a real mess," one city tax assessor said.

In July 2007, Vision Appraisal Technology, a small Massachusetts-based company, was awarded a three-year contract to overhaul the way the city calculates and values buildings and homes for tax purposes.

The complex program was doomed from the start.

It was supposed to be operational by September 2007, according to the Request for Proposals issued by the city.

But the vendor couldn't create the necessary software meant to help estimate the city's close to 1 million parcels of land. The old system had been in place since the early 1990s.

The revamped system -- intended to remove some of the discretion city assessors had in setting property values -- came after a major 2002 scandal in which a former assessor bribed Finance employees to reduce assessments on his clients' properties. The scam cost the city hundreds of millions in real-estate tax collections.

The "computer-assisted mass-appraisal system" was finally launched last month, two years late.


Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

We need a big screen with 24 hour 7 days a week access on the internet about how the city is wasting tax payer money or stealing it, ditto for Albany.

Anonymous said...

So that might explain why my property taxes have been escalating steadily despite a drop in my home's market value with no apparent rhyme or reason!



Another reason to dump Bloomberg QUICKLY!

Ooops....what's gonna happen if John Liu overseas all of NYC's finances.

Never mind...let's get a Macintosh Apple system to replace the comptroller's job

Steve Jobs for comptroller!

Taxpayer said...

Every day, throughout the world, financial institutions such as banks, credit, insurance, mortgage, small loan companies use software to accommodate complex changes to customer records - name change, new dependents, address change, deposits, withdrawals, adjustments, computation of interest, and on and on.

Yes, from time to time, there are errors. The errors are corrected. The software is corrected and its use continued. Humans make errors. Honest, responsible businesses correct the errors or suffer the consequences.

No software will ever be perfect.

But, over the last 40 or more years, the techniques for designing, building, testing, installing and changing software have been so standardized, that it now takes a deliberate effort to create bad software.

So, I smell the stinky stench of corruption in this Dept. of Finance software for a $4.3 contract.

What are the software credentials of Vision Appraisal Technology from Massachusetts (what, there were no NYC based companies capable of performing on this contract?).

Who wrote the specifications for the software?

Who evaluated those specifications?

Who managed the project?

Who designed the testing procedures?

Were any software tests conducted? Where is the test design and software testing documentation?

If this software was tested at all, how did it become eligible for installation and use? When were the software failures first observed?

Who signed off on the testing, to say that thorough testing demonstrated that this software worked according to those written specifications?

During the software development, how frequently were the software specifications changed? Were those changes in writing or by casual phone conversations?

As software specifications were changed, were the testing specifications also changed.

What are the credentials for successful software development of those who participated in this corrupt fiasco?

Doesn't the Titan of Commerce Commissar make the claim that his brilliance and wealth derived from creating and running a successful stock market trade tracking system?

Then, why did the most important city agency he claims to manage, fail so miserably in the development of its core system?

What was the Commissar doing while this failure was ongoing for 3 or more years? And we need this moronic loser for a third term?

Dump him. Dump him now. He is not to be trusted with the tax assessment of your home. He will rip you off.