Greene County updates its Pictometry

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Last November, Greene County invested in an update to the county’s Pictometry. Pictometry, which is patented by EagleView, is a form of “aerial imagery” that can map out terrain in high quality, as stated by a brochure found on the company’s website. Betsy McClure, Greene County commissioner, said that the funds for the investment came from the CARES act. 

“This project was funded through the Federal CARES Act,” McClure said. “There are many departments [such as the] County Planning Department that will benefit from this upgrade, and we were pleased to be able to utilize the CARES Funding to make this possible to the County.”

According to a press release from the Greene County commissioners, the usage of the CARES act funds was limited by several things, including the stipulation that the money be spent before December 30 of 2020. The money also had to help alleviate issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The collection of this imagery and data provides county employees the capability to work remotely and comply with social distancing restrictions, in accordance with the CDC guidelines in the pandemic, with better outcomes than previously obtainable,” McClure said.

Mike Belding, Greene County commissioner, said that the county received $3.2 million in CARES act funds. He said the investment provided an update to the county’s existing digital imagery, which was created in 2006 and has since become outdated. 

“The county’s previous Pictometry data was taken in 2006 and obviously was antiquated with respect to technology available to capture the data and lacked currency relative to recent activity on the ground,” Belding said. “Of note, increased activity of natural gas industry pad installations and drilling operations peaked after the previous data collection.”

Belding said that the update will benefit the county in several ways, including areas such as land appraisal, law enforcement and community planning and development. He said that the imagery allows users to get precise measurements of areas of land.

“The digital imagery allows county and municipal users to analyze any object in the image and obtain exact measurements with respect to position, length, width, area, slope, height and elevation,” Belding said. “It allows users to annotate and compare year-over-year images and is used in county offices for many purposes.”

Belding also stated that the new imagery would help Greene County levy accurate taxes. He said that many Greene County municipalities do not always require building permits, leading to a discrepancy in reporting taxes.

“Many townships use a third-party reviewer that is responsible for reporting to the county when new construction occurs, sometimes that doesn’t get reported. This gap between reporting requirements creates a disadvantage to all taxpayers as a whole because some taxable improvements go years without contributing toward the tax base,” Belding said. 

Because of this, Belding said the increased tax revenue will offset the costs of the investment.

“If individuals have failed to report the construction of a residence, building or other projects, that improvement will be added to the tax rolls and taxed at the fair market value contributing to the tax base in Greene County,” Belding said. “The investment in Pictometry will pay for itself over time after identifying previously unreported residents, building and improvements and adding them to the tax rolls.”