(Public Opinion (Chambersburg, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 22--CHAMBERSBURG -- The county is moving forward with plans to make property tax appraisal and claim information accessible online.
Commissioners on Tuesday voted to hire Vision Government Solutions to build the website at a cost of $16,500.
There is also an annual hosting fee of approximately $9,000, but this will be offset by a user subscription fee.
"While there is an up-front cost, we should have a net cost to the county of zero," Chief Information Officer Sean Crager said.
The website would allow the public to access information on the approximately 74,000 land parcels in Franklin County. The information is public record and currently accessible in the tax assessment office.
On the new website, a basic portal would allow users to look up the owner's name, address and parcel information. Another portal allows users to access more detailed information through a subscription-based service, geared toward people who make frequent searches -- such as those working in real estate.
A subscription fee has not been determined. County officials said it will likely be set in October or November, around which time the site is expected to launch.
The website will replace an existing online system, which has about 200 to 300 subscribers, according to Crager. They can still access the old site until the new one launches this fall.
Those without web access can use a workstation in the tax assessment office. Because people will be able to more easily access the information remotely, the website is expected to provide some efficiency for the office.
"We'll at least hold the line as more requests like this occur and the real estate market picks back up," Crager said. "We'll definitely evaluate the program as we move forward to look for more efficiencies."
The contract with Vision Government Solutions is the latest in several projects over the past few years to update the county's land record systems.
The county hired the same firm in 2012 to establish a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal system.
In order to pay for the new technology, commissioners last month approved a $20 fee on deeds, mortgages, and other documents that are filed with the register and recorder's office.
Marcus Rauhut can be reached at 262-4752.
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