County debuts more user-friendly web page

Kitsap County is taking a big step to make its Web site more user-friendly by appending standard tax information with a series of connected charts and graphs.

The new service is named Property Tax 101 and is scheduled to go live early next week.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get information about how taxes are distributed,” said county spokesman Clarence Moriwaki. “And we want to do it in a graphical, easy-to-understand way.”

Kitsap County taxpayers have been able to access their tax records on-line for several years, with any member of the public able to log on and get information about any piece of property and how much tax revenue it generates.

With the new module, Web site visitors will be able to see how much money from each tax bill is allocated to each source.

“This will help people to understand where the money goes,” Moriwaki said. “Many think that most of property taxes go to the county, which isn’t true. And they don’t know that more than half of property tax revenue goes to schools.”

Moriwaki said the program was developed by the county’s Information Services Department at the request of the county commissioners, who were looking for an easy way to explain how taxes are spent.

Those logging on to the new site will be able to view graphs representing tax distribution per taxing district, individual tax distribution over five years, and overall distribution for all districts.

The graphical potential is an extension of services on which customers already depend.

“Taxpayers have become more technologically savvy,” said Kitsap County Treasurer Barbara Stephenson. “This is a positive thing for people who enjoy using the Internet. There are still people who will call us with questions, so we need to be able to provide the information in a variety of ways.”

The direct URL for the new page had not been determined at press time, but a link will be provided from the main web page.

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