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Indiana County approves a request for proposals for a county tax reassessment

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Indiana County's property tax reassessment plan took another step forward at the county commissioners' meeting Wednesday morning.

The commissioners unanimously approved the request for proposals prepared by the county's reassessment team, consisting of the county's tax assessment department and the Ira Weiss law firm of Pittsburgh.

Chief assessor Frank Sisko, Jr. said the RFP will be released Feb. 1 for a period ending March 15. The reassessment team will review bids submitted during the RFP process and should submit its recommendation to the commissioners by “some time in April,” according to Sisko.

Planners are proposing to use a computer-assisted mass appraisal sytem for the reassessment process that would allow for any future county reassessments to be completed in-house.

The county's land holdings will increase by 6.17 acres after the commissioners voted unanimously to accept the donation of a parcel in Buffington Township from the Helen Russell estate. The land is contiguous to the 713-acre Blacklick Valley Natural Area, which is bisected by the Ghost Town Trail.

The commissioners recognized volunteers who have worked at the county courthouse's information desk for multiple years – Sara Chiodo, Loretta Dalton and Beth Ann Kinter. Due to declining frequency of requests for information, the information desk was closed Dec. 31. Volunteers had staffed the desk since 1991, but deputy sheriffs at the security checkpoint inside the courthouse entrance have increasingly provided information to patrons.

The commissioners also approved the county's participation with Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties in a joint application, seeking $2 million through the Veterans Supportive Services for Homeless Veterans and Families grant program.

In other business, the commissioners approved Children and Youth Services' contract with Thomas Kauffman to serve as a guardian ad litem and juvenile public defender. The commissioners also approved a CYS contract totaling $4,086 for software upgrades to the Child Accounting and Profile System database.

The county commissioners also agreed to enter into a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for an Emergency Solutions Grant Program in the amount of $180,000 over two years for operational expenses at the Pathway homeless shelter in Black Lick.

The commissioners will meet again at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 13.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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