News Column

Fee approved for land record filings

June 12, 2014

By Marcus Rauhut, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.



June 12--CHAMBERSBURG -- A new fee on land record filings will pay for upgrades to Franklin County's land records systems.

Commissioners approved a $20 fee on new documents recorded in the register and recorder's office to fund hardware and software updates.

"This will tie together a lot of improvements we've been making with tax software, GIS and imagery to really bring us into the 21st century as far as our land record system," commissioner David Keller said.

The fee was approved Thursday as the county moved forward with a Uniform Parcel Identifier system.

A UPI system uses a unique number to identify each land parcel in the county, improving connectivity between county departments that work with real estate records and making it easier for the public to research them.

County officials initially began looking into establishing the system after a visit to Chester County in 2008. Last month, Register and Recorder Linda Miller asked commissioners to move forward with the project.

The fee will apply to documents -- such as deeds, mortgages, and easements, for example -- that are filed with the register and recorder.

The $20 fee essentially amounts to a "user fee" as opposed to using general fund dollars for future system upgrades, commissioner Bob Ziobrowski said.

"We feel this is line with what other counties are charging," said county attorney Mary Beth Shank. "Other counties may have a smaller fee, but they are on the verge of updating it."

In recent years, the county has invested heavily in upgrading the systems that deal with real estate records that are used by several departments and the public.

--In 2011, the county signed a $744,720 contract with Sidwell Co. to establish a Geographic Information System;

--In 2012, the county approved $276,000 for Vision Government Solutions to establish a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal system.

--Last year, the county approved $11,364 to replace 14 tax office computers, which at the time were 6 to 10 years old and could not operate with the new CAMA.

--In February, the county hired Pictometry International Corp. at a cost of $402,656 over six years to collect aerial images as part of the overall GIS project.

Marcus Rauhut can be reached at 262-4752.

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(c)2014 the Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pa.)

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Source: Public Opinion (Chambersburg, PA)


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