Rotary Club get in-depth on County Apps program

Demopolis Rotary Club members asked a lot of questions about a new way to pay taxes and renew car tags proposed by Sharon Barkley, Marengo County Revenue Commissioner, and Laurie Hall, probate judge.

Speaking to the club Will Yarbrough of County Apps demonstrated the kiosk that his company is offering to make life easier for people in the north and south ends of the county who find it difficult to travel to Linden and wait in line.

Yarbrough told the club members that the Birmingham-based company has been in business for 3 and a half years and has more than 20 years of experience in computer technology and applications. The owners specialize in building, developing and maintaining software. Their program is being used in four counties in the state, with one or two more getting ready to start up.

The County Apps program isn’t limited to the kiosks, he continued. The system has a mobile app available for free download through Apple and Android systems. The all-in-one system communicates and transfers data among mobile app, email, website and the offices involved.

The kiosks, said Yarbrough, use programs that are built on feedback from customers to simplify the process for online and mobile app tag renewals and property tax payments.

Their research, he continued, shows using the kiosk is 31 percent faster than the current system and saves at least two hours each day for clerks, which means less wait time in lines for customers.

The County Apps program also can provide email, text and phone call reminders. Yarbrough said mailed reminders often are seen as junk mail and never opened.

Barkley and Hall, both members of the Demopolis club, fielded questions about the cost of the program to the county. The initial set-up costs would be absorbed by funds in the Revenue Commission office. Annual cost to the county for two kiosks set up – one in Demopolis and another in the south end of the county – would run between $4,000-$5,000, said Hall, after Barkley’s office picks up part of the expenses.

The two have presented the County Apps proposal to the Marengo County Commission with a request for the county to assist with costs. The commission is expected to vote on the system at its meeting May 12.