Taxpayers should rejoice that the county tax assessor-collector’s office has revolutionized the way in which investors can obtain information about the properties on offer in the county’s monthly sheriff’s sales. So, too, should the investors, whose access to details of the tax-sale properties’ physical type, location and other attributes has suddenly been given a 24-7 capability with no need to leave home.
For anyone in doubt, the tax office’s acceptance of an offer to list the details on a website dedicated to tax sales is not about removing free and easy access to information about the properties – on the contrary, it is about increasing it.
Readers can be assured that the county is not removing its legal notices from printed publication. All that is changing is the tax office’s method of offering complementary – and complimentary – paper packs of extra information to investors who wish to bid for the listed properties at the sheriff’s auction.
The difference is that the legal notices are required by longstanding statute; the paper packs have been a courtesy service offering other, non-legal, information for about 11 years.
So now, instead of continuing to ask its staff members to collate reams of paper at great material-and-labor expense, the tax office has accepted an offer by Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, the law firm the county uses to pursue its delinquent taxpayers, to place the information on the firm’s new national tax-sales website at no charge to the county.
This is a win-win for everyone involved. First, the tax-office staff can now get on with their primary duties and investors need not travel to Galveston to pick up the cumbersome paper packets. Second, the county’s property-sales information – as distinct from its legal-notice information – is now available on a much wider basis and anyone, not just potential investors, can view that information free no matter their location or the time of day.
Not only that; removal of the need either for extra staff or burgeoning overtime wages at the tax office will surely offer at least some relief to the county’s taxpayers come the next annual budget.
But there’s even more good news. As an added bonus, The Post has moved to provide a link – again free – between our own website and Linebarger’s, enabling anyone anywhere who is interested in a foreclosed property to compare its legal and physical attributes with just a couple of mouse clicks in the comfort of their own home.
If there is a more satisfying employment of modern technology in the adequate dissemination of public information, we wager you’d be hard-pressed to find it. It’s a perfect example of good governance in the very best interests of the people.
And another one, too
THIS WEEK, the city of Hitchcock declared The Post the official publication for its legal notices, continuing the evidence that our newspaper is making its mark all across the county. Doubtless, a prime consideration in accepting our bid was the great value for money that its price per column inch offers the city.
But we are confident that it also bore in mind the value we offer its citizens, with free ad-hoc distribution throughout the area, a fee of just $25 for an annual subscription and an exciting, innovative approach to news and other editorial content that keeps readers engaged, considerably boosting their likelihood of paying attention to the advertisements from local businesses.