County to upgrade online property, information searches

YORK – York County will be making upgrades with its online property and information searches.

This is an effort to provide more advanced technology and more readily available access to information for property owners, realtors, bankers and the public as a whole, said York County Assessor Kurt Bulgrin.

He brought forward contractual proposals from Vanguard as the county’s mapping is being updated by a new company.

“We have been doing some transitioning in the assessor’s office to upgrade what we are offering online,” Bulgrin told the county commissioners when he met with them during their recent meeting. “With our new mapping system, I’d like to see the property records show up with that, so we would need to upgrade our services with Vanguard. $2,700, annually, will allow the property record card to be connected to each parcel. The Vanguard website will also allow all types of upgraded searches, with an annual payment of $3,630. And another addition could provide a personal property link with a cost of $550 annually – this would allow us to send out personal property postcards instead of letters which would tell property owners to go to a link to see personal property values.”

Commissioner Daniel Grotz said he saw the need to upgrade the county’s online offerings when it came to property and information searches, but he felt the personal property aspect might be too public – as people would be able to see, as an example, what their neighbor paid for their personal property, what their neighbors owned as personal property, etc.

“Yes, that would be the case,” Bulgrin responded, “but it would be only the amount and no real personal information.”

“What I see is that the assessor’s office wants to do more digitally,” said Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier.

“Yes, we want to advance the technological development for the assessor’s office,” Bulgrin said.

The new mapping website will launch July 1, Bulgrin noted.

“And this is being done for the public’s use,” Obermier added with Bulgrin agreeing.

The board members agreed to the $2,700 annual payment for the inclusion of property record cards and $3,630 (also an annual payment) for the Vanguard website upgrade.

But regarding the personal property information inclusion, the board members weren’t so much in favor.

Commissioner Grotz said, “I have reservations with this one. I get the want and need to move into the new century with our technology and providing service to the county, but I think this aspect would just put too much information out there to be readily available. I also understand this is public information, if you want to find it.”

Commissioner Woody Ziegler agreed with Grotz. “To me, the information – with personal property – would become just too readily available and your privacy just shrinks, by allowing someone to pop on to the internet and see what the pivot across the road cost, as an example. I just feel it is kind of an invasion of privacy. I feel that if the assessor’s office had it readily available for them to access and not for the whole county to see, that would be better.”

Bulgrin said his office already has that information readily available to them. “And yes, if this was made more readily available to the public, this would allow Jack to see what Woody has, how much it cost, etc.”

“At this time, I’m not on board enough with this portion,” Grotz said, making a motion to pass on the personal property segment on the Vanguard website. The other four commissioners agreed and they didn’t accept the third offering.

The contract with Vanguard is for three years, which can be stopped at any time by either party.

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