"There's no question that our new OARS system will save residents time and effort in researching and preparing for meetings with our staff," said Leafer. "With residents and staff basically getting the same access to information, we can all truly work from the same page."
To access the OARS system, a new link was created on the town's Web site main page --www.townofbethlehem.org " called "Online Services." On the left-hand side of that page is the link to the OARS system, as well as links to other online services and forms, including the town's monthly e-Newsletter, water and sewer billing information, tax bill information and a sign-up page for the town's new monthly community clean-up day. Taxpayers can also sign up to pay their taxes through the automatic electronic bill paying system.
Leafer said he only sees one shortcoming on the site " the inability to look up property by owners' names. He was unsure if there was a security issue involved in leaving that function out, but said he will try to address it shortly.
"Our new online assessment system is the latest in a long line of technology upgrades the town has made -- and will continue to make -- to provide greater public access to information, communicate better and more frequently with residents and allow for more interaction between town government and taxpayers," said Cunningham.
"The OARS system is one of several Web-based technology improvements the town has made over the last few years," said Jeffrey Dammeyer, Bethlehem's Director of Management Information Services, at the town's June 27 meeting.
"We also set up a public computer station in the assessor's office at Town Hall to provide access to OARS for residents who do not have a home computer or Internet connection."
Dammeyer said the computer is handicapped accessible.