During their meeting on Wednesday, Lackawanna County, Pa., officials defended new fees that have recently been imposed for online access to some public records that were previously available for free.
(TNS) — Lackawanna County officials defended new fees recently imposed for online access to some public records.
During their meeting Wednesday, the commissioners noted having received written comments from
Such records used to be available for searching online through the county website, free of charge, but fees began
Moran, who extensively searched the records for genealogy, often would spend more than an hour at a time searching, but now can't afford to do so because an hour of searching would cost $30, which he views as exorbitant. His concerns included that historical societies, libraries and newspapers also are impacted by the new fees, the databases were created with taxpayer funds, and a vendor running the system will profit from the fees.
While the county provides a few free public access terminals at the county government center in
"So, it's a common practice?" Commissioner Chairman
Ruggiero said yes.
"It is a common practice (to charge fees) and for those counties that have not done it yet, it's just a matter of time until they get on board because that is the wave of the future and with technology," Ruggiero said.
Officials are also discussing establishing protocols within the county government center for public access to free-search terminals, he said.
Also Wednesday, the commissioners advanced a 2021 budget that does not increase taxes. They will hold second and final reading of the $138.2 million budget on
The budget maintains the 63.92-mill total tax rate set when the commissioners reopened the 2020 budget in January. At that time, the board split on approving an 11.3% property tax increase for 2020 to generate $9 million in additional revenue this year. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value.
During the reopening of budget in January, Commissioner
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