Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal System (CAMA)
Section 3411(4)(8) of Title 32, requires the Vermont Department of Taxes, Division of Property Valuation and Review to develop and recommend to the general assembly improved methods for standardizing property assessment procedures and to provide technical assistance and instruction to the listers in a uniform appraisal system. A tool used by PVR to enhance assessment uniformity is the Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system that is supported by the Tax Department.
The Department currently supports two windows-based software applications. The CAMA product is called CAMA 2000 and is supplied by New England Municipal Resource Center – NEMRC. The software uses the Marshall and Swift values for the cost approach. It is also capable of utilizing the market comparison approach and the income approach to value. The other software application is a tax administration application is also supplied by NEMRC. The two systems are linked so that values generated in CAMA 2000 are automatically transferred the NEMRC Grand List administration program.
The Department’s Information Technology Division includes computer Help Desk staff. The Help Desk staff is currently supporting 187 towns using the CAMA 2000 and all towns using the NEMRC Tax Administration software. During the past year Property Valuation and Help Desk staff participated in numerous training sessions throughout the State providing instruction on both basic and advanced CAMA 2000 components. Advanced sessions included sketching and the commercial database. The Department’s goal is to continue to continue to expand its education services so as to offer a comprehensive training program for the CAMA 2000 and NEMRC systems.
Over the last three years, department staff has worked with a diverse group of Listers and Assessors to evaluate the CAMA 2000 application. Earlier concerns related to the stability of the software have largely been overcome as NEMRC has implemented an initiative to promote the dissemination of a uniform version of the software throughout the State. This coupled with enhanced support and education services from both Department and NEMRC staff appear to have met most users’ demands.
Now that the immediate priority of stabilizing the CAMA software has been achieved, it is time to begin to develop a longer term plan that outlines the architecture and capabilities of the next generation CAMA software. To this end the evaluation group has begun meeting to define and prioritize major system enhancements to be pursued over the next several years.