Bringing an Assessor’s Office into the Digital AgeJanuary 3, 2019
Until 2016, assessors in Quincy Township, Illinois, relied on paper records to get the job done. With no computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system in place and 15,000 parcels to value, Quincy Township Assessor Lisa Gasko and her staff had their work cut out for them.
With little technology for assessment in place, Gasko and her staff could only assess what they could see from the street. The assessors wanted a better way to ensure fair and equitable property assessments that are both current and correct. Further, she knew that it was time to bring her office into the digital age.
Working with the county
Adams County, Illinois, received Pictometry® imagery in 2016. Assessment is done at the town level in Adams County, which includes 23 townships with nine assessors among them. Quincy is the largest of these communities.
In addition to Pictometry imagery, the Adams County also has access to ChangeFinder™ data comparing this image capture with the 2013 flyover. This data highlights new property additions or structures that may be unaccounted for, resulting in missed revenue for local agencies.
In 2016, assessors immediately saw positive results and found more than $4 million in additional revenue in a total review of the county. Some structures found within ChangeFinder had never before been assessed.
Quincy Township also received access to this data. Then in 2018, the Township and Adams County jointly contracted DevNet, a CAMA provider. They could then populate the CAMA orthogonal and oblique imagery from EagleView, as well as other records.
With the new system in place, however, Gasko’s office needed to populate the data quickly and with minimal error.
An innovative new solution
The solution, Gasko decided, was to receive property sketches from EagleView. The sketches, as part of a pilot program for the EagleView Property Information Card™ (EPIC), are delivered digitally with the total living area. They can include multiple stories and subarea mapping of structure components.
Gasko chose to work with EagleView based on cost-effectiveness and quality compared to competitors. Also important were the existing relationships the County and its GIS and CAMA vendors have with EagleView.
Officials knew that EagleView had the proven ability to extract information from imagery with the ChangeFinder project. With all sketches created on a base year of imagery and a historical point, Quincy Township would see consistent valuations.
How it works
The sketches are generated from Pictometry imagery. The total living area is calculated, and subareas on the parcel are labeled and identified. EagleView is able to determine what is and is not livable space. For example, attics are not livable space.
More complex properties, such as split-level homes and commercial buildings, also receive sketches. EagleView can identify porch types, the presence of carports, and outbuildings, which are included on the sketches.
Workflow integration was crucial for Gasko and her staff. The sketches are created in XML format, which is then converted to Apex format for the CAMA. Quincy has editable writes to sketches to maintain moving forward as they continue to implement the data.
An EPIC solution
Although the project is still in the early phases, it has resulted in the successful creation of viable sketches for assessment purposes. In the future, Quincy Township plans to implement other aspects of EPIC, such as change detection, to continue to increase workflow efficiencies.
One thing is for sure, says Gasko. With EagleView on their side, there’s no going back to relying solely on handwritten records.
Find out what the EagleView Property Information Card can do for your assessment workflow. Learn more >>