Treasurers’ offices from around the country and from foreign lands have visited the Cook County Treasurer’s Office to study Pappas' increasingly paperless operations. With a strategy of achieving efficiency via technology, and a total commitment to transparency.
Pappas' achievements include:
Pappas is especially proud of the Debt Disclosure Ordinance (DDO), an unprecedented step for transparency in government.
The DDO came out of questions she encountered from taxpayers about rising taxes. Recognizing that taxpayers needed to actually see how much of their taxes were going to which local governments (taxing districts),
Pappas oversaw design of a system that shows how much each taxing district is billing taxpayers and how much each taxing district owes in debt for pensions, operations and other costs.
The information is on both her website and on property tax bills mailed to taxpayers. Pappas urges citizens to use the information to monitor local-government spending.
Inaugurated online payments, via cookcountytreasurer.com, so payment of current and prior years’ taxes owed can be paid online from any computer or mobile device.
Established an online system for mortgage companies and banks (third-party agents) to pay in bulk via wire payments.
Website content translated into 103 foreign languages with a click of a button.
Initiated the County’s Debt Disclosure Ordinance (DDO) which requires taxing districts to publicly report their finances, including long-term debt. The Treasurer’s Office puts the information, tailored to each Property Index Number, on property tax bills and on Pappas' website.
Reduced staff from 250 employees in 1998 to 88.5 employees in Fiscal Year 2018, a reduction of almost 65 percent.
Submitted 17 consecutive reduced budgets.
By fiscal year 2018, offset more than 90 percent of the County’s annual budget allocation to the Treasurer’s Office, using non-tax revenues to upgrade technology, streamline processes and reduce staffing costs.
Closed five satellite offices. She created the opportunity for property owners to pay taxes at 539 banks (Nearly 400 Chase facilities and 139 community banks).
Created outreach materials in English and 23 other languages.
Pappas' website has enormous amounts of information about the property tax system, and her office designed cookcountytreasurer.com to be interactive and informative. Not only can taxpayers pay current and prior-year taxes online, they also can check payment status, search for refunds and check on exemptions. The website offers downloadable forms and applications, information on mortgage escrow, and answers to frequently asked questions, and the entire website can be translated into 103 languages.
The office’s phone system, 312.443.5100, gives assistance in English, Polish and Spanish. Taxpayers can determine payment status, search for refunds, and order applications to be faxed or mailed.