Taking action to recover revenue with Truenorth

Puerto Rico’s CRIM used Truenorth’s Sunrise to deliver valuable data-driven insights and find new revenue during the global pandemic

Alex Smith
By Alex Smith on 18 March 2021
Taking action to recover revenue with Truenorth
Unsplash/Carlos Muza

Puerto Rico’s Centro de Recaudación de Ingresos Municipales (CRIM) is responsible for invoicing, receiving and distributing the funds generated by property taxes for all municipalities of the Caribbean island.

Its revenue streams have eroded during the pandemic, and its disparate collection of systems created delays in gathering actionable intelligence. This meant that the agency was losing revenue opportunities to the point that it had collected less than a quarter of its potential income.

To tackle this problem, CRIM fast-tracked the use of Truenorth’s Sunrise solution to evaluate its systems, identify metrics, build a data warehouse that unified its many databases, and execute other supporting projects to realise its revenue objectives. The solution identifies paths to critical data that can be quickly leveraged, includes custom coding to create interfaces to legacy components, and then presents in them in an understandable way to allow the organisation to address the erosion of revenue.  

Truenorth first reviewed CRIM’s billing system and its Esri Geographic Information System, along with a system for property appraisals and several Oracle and SQL databases. The results were compared to information from the census in 2010 and correlated with other agencies’ data.

Sunrise analysed this data and uncovered multiple avenues for improvement. These included many undeliverable invoices due to incorrect addresses or contact information and a further set of invoices that had been returned. Furthermore, it was found that tens of thousands of properties across the island had been improved but not reappraised, with thousands of pools that made properties ineligible for a property tax exemption going unrecorded. 

Once the evaluation phase had been completed, Sunrise introduced a new data warehouse architecture to integrate the data silos within the CRIM billing, appraisals and property mapping systems. Data management platform TimeXtender served as the repository for data from all other property tax-related databases and sources, providing over 200 pre-configured and certified connectors between systems. As a result, the project spent only two days in a proof-of-concept stage, with a further 15 days for the production system to integrate the data silos within CRIM’s systems and databases.

Sunrise was then configured to produce data lineage and documentation to facilitate agency oversight. Data is now pulled nightly from all property tax systems into TimeXtender. That data is then organised and analysed to provide CRIM’s management and personnel with customised reports and dashboards. When they log into their accounts, employees immediately have access to Microsoft Power BI dashboards showing the data they need to provide their functions.

These new insights allowed CRIM to recover $177 million in invoicing errors, $46 million in incorrect mailing address, $22 million in unrealised property revenue, $7 million in incorrect exemptions, and $63 million in unapprised properties collectively allowing CRIM to generate enough income from existing revenue sources to avoid a rise in property taxes.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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