The West Baton Rouge Parish Assessor is the elected official responsible for establishing the value of real estate and business and personal property for ad valorem tax purposes within the parish.
The first Assessor's Web site was launched in December 2004 using a part-time designer. While the site was attractive, it lacked the necessary functionality needed to be useful to office staff and site visitors. For example, the office needed the ability to edit and maintain the Web site themselves.
The previous site required someone pursuant with HTML to make changes for them, a task that would take two weeks or more even for small changes. The site also required a fresh look with an intuitive, user-friendly design and better organization. And, since 90 percent of the information available through the Assessor's office is open to the public, they wanted to make it available online as well.
The transition to a more robust, functional site was part of an overall plan to make all information digitally accessible. The office had transitioned from a mainframe to a Windows/PC-based network and went from paper maps to digital. They had a vision for getting information onto the web and relieve parish residents and others from having to visit the courthouse to obtain information.
While many people balked at the idea of providing information online, the client saw it as a way to better serve constituents including surveyors, land developers, abstractors and parish residents. It would also provide information on land sites and zoning -- anything a company would need to consider before locating in the area.
The client came into contact with Bizzuka via an area tradeshow. Bizzuka had offered a door prize and gave away free Web site. A West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce employee won the prize and gifted it to the Chamber. Having seen what Bizzuka did to enhance the Chamber's Web presence, the Assessor's office felt we could easily manage their needs as well.
The site was designed to expand the services to the public and serve as a virtual office open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bizzuka's Web content management solution enabled office staff to make changes to the site as needed. Plus, Bizzuka created a clever, attractive design that was also highly functional.
Visitors to the site can:
- Search for valuable parcel information including, but not limited to, ownership data, assessed values and legal descriptions
- View their tax assessment
- View and print aerial photography and digital maps of parcels within West Baton Rouge Parish
- Download necessary forms
- Read a variety of parish tax assessment-related reports and find links to other governmental agencies.
The site also serves as a repository of information for other parish entities.
"We would not hesitate to recommend Bizzuka and have on several occasions to other local agencies and businesses as well. Bizzuka has literally 'thrown a blanket' over West Baton Rouge Parish so far as governmental agencies are concerned."