TL offers new assessment values [The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.]
Mar. 5--Luzerne County assessments have been shifting because of appeals and court-level challenges, and The Times Leader offers the only free online database to check out the latest values.
Fresh values were loaded onto the site Thursday.
The database of 165,000-plus properties may be viewed at www.timesleader.com. Click on the "local property assessment database" box on the left side of the main screen.
Public access to the county reassessment company's online database ended in April 2009, prompting continued complaints from taxpayers who relied on the site for research. Without an online database, property owners are forced to visit the courthouse.
The Times Leader database allows searches by streets if property owners want to check out other properties in their neighborhood.
County Assessment Director Tony Alu said he supplied the values to the newspaper at no cost because the free online site is a public service not offered by the county.
His office regularly refers property owners to the newspaper database if they are unable to visit his office.
"We support any opportunity to educate the public," Alu said.
The county discontinued access to reassessment company 21st Century Appraisals Inc.'s site for budgetary reasons. The county paid $2,000 per month to provide the database during reassessment. 21st Century said the fee is needed to cover software, server and maintenance costs.
Property data is also available for public viewing at the county assessor's office, which is located in the basement of the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Access is also available on two public terminals in the county's southern office in West Hazleton, Alu said.
To see more of The Times Leader, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.timesleader.com.
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