Thursday, April 18, 2013
Walla Walla County Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner made a professional decision to shut off the “search-by-name” feature of the county public records TaxSifter program. I concur with his decision.
It is too easy to gather so much information with one click of the computer. I know, in this day, that a person can find where anyone lives, what their house taxes are, their address, how much they paid for the property and so much more information.
Recently, I talked to our treasurer about his decision. Mr. Heimbigner checked with the TaxSifter company. The company said shutting off that feature was easy to do and up to the county treasurer or county assessor whether to do this or not.
I have TaxSifter on my “favorites” list on my computer. I use it quite often. I will still be able to get the information I need by searching by address or searching other computer sites.
Mr. Heimbigner checked with the other counties in Washington and reported to me that the majority of those counties also turned off, or never enabled the “search by name” feature.
The Walla Walla County Treasurer’s Office staff will provide the tax information to anyone who requests it, plus the requester probably can get the needed information by searching by address or parcel number or on some other computer site. When I enter my address into the TaxSifter, both parcels of my land are revealed, along with all the other information that has always been available.
In this “information age” I am really happy the Walla Walla County treasurer has made it a little more difficult to search my whereabouts by having to take one more step to match my name with my address or gather the information on a need to know basis.
We have elected him to serve as our treasurer, so let’s trust him with this decision since he has promised to provide the answers to our public information questions.
He has received positive feedback from many who feel the same as I, along with those who find it an inconvenience in having to take that additional step that turning off the “name search” has caused.
Caution outweighs convenience with me every time.
Sally Harmon Wagoner