JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County government's tax office is combining its two database systems, in part to provide the public more access to data.
County Real Property Tax Services Director Peter Galarneau on Thursday requested a transfer of funds through the Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee as a way to accommodate the conversion. The committee OK'd the request; it will be reviewed by the full board Nov. 13.
"We basically have two databases we're maintaining," Galarneau said.
Fulton County Real Property Tax Services Director Peter Galarneau addresses the Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee on Thursday at the County Office Building. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)
He said the two databases his County Office Building-based agency uses, sharing common information, are: Image Mate Online, or IMO parcel history application, a web application; and Microsoft Access database, a non-public database not available on the Internet.
Galarneau said it would be more "cost effective" in terms of time and manpower to convert data from the non-public database to the web database.
"Data entry into the IMO database is much more efficient than using Access," Galarneau informed the committee. "If converted, our office would maintain the IMO database as our ownership record, and this information will be readily available to the public."
Galarneau said ownership information is an essential tool for his office's Mapping Department, as well as for external users such as brokers, surveyors, title searchers, law offices and the general public.
He said the $950 expenditure to make the conversion is a one-time expense not requiring additional ongoing maintenance costs. In addition, he said, the public would have more access to tax information.
"It just makes more sense," Galarneau said. "There's no additional savings, but there's no additional maintenance either."
He said the Real Property Tax Services Agency is required by the state to keep a record of ownership of its mapped parcels. He said that was originally done manually on a paper card file starting in the 1970s. About 10 years ago, he said, the information began to be maintained on the Access database.
"We have been printing less and less," Galarneau said. "We're starting to create PDF files instead of printed paper."
Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo wanted to know if the county will eventually get rid of the Access database.
Galarneau said that database will be archived. He added that the county's Information Services Department will be pleased with the planned database conversion.
A considerable amount of property and tax information is available on the county's website, www.fultoncountyny.gov.
Michael Anich can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.