Claremore Daily Progress

October 2, 2012

Website upgrade saves county thousands

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Rogers County is getting an upgrade as the county website adds new features while saving taxpayers thousands.

The website was recently changed as IT Director Brett Williston worked closely with Rogers County Assessor Scott Marsh to make the free site one of the most functional sites in the state of Oklahoma.
The new and improved website brings increased functionality with a very small price tag. 
Williston has been working on the site for weeks; and by doing the work in house, he was able to save the county in excess of $12,000 on programming alone.
The website began in 1999, and since that time, Williston has been working to get the site where it is today.
“It was a seamless process to move the data to the webserver,” Williston. “Fresh data is available everyday.”
The site provides real-time data as it becomes available from the assessors office.
This includes sales records or property assessments.
Assessments are done over a four-year period, however as soon as state officials approve the data it is made available for the public.
Additionally, the site is compatible with Google Earth saving the county almost $25,000 a year on aerial photography, according to Williston.
Google Earth satellite imagery is available at the click of a button.
This also saves on employee travel time as research can be done at the office prior to visual inspections.
Since the new launch, the county website has seen twice as much traffic, Williston said.
The new features include public access to assessment property records, again at no charge to the public.
“The good thing about the site is that provides a complete look at our data,” Williston said. 
Sales data dates back to 1993 and all the images on file are now available.
“All the images that we look at to make assessments are now available to everyone,” Marsh said. “An individual can see exactly what we see.
 The site shows the public that the assessor’s office is using more information to make the best assessments, according to Marsh.
Only one other county in the state offers this functionality, according to Williston.
“I look it as a good economic tool to bring business into the county,” Williston said.
“The website also provides a tool for transparency as anyone can use the site from the comfort of their own home,” Williston said.
The data is searchable with a number of easily customizable reports, according to Williston. This includes the ability to research comparable sales throughout properties in Rogers County. Currently the website, wwww.rogerscounty.org,  receives more than 200,000 hits per month, according to Williston. The site’s heaviest users are land developers, abstract offices, insurance companies and real estate professionals.
“The site is a great tool to attract development to Rogers County,” Williston said.