Brian Tiesman, Assessor for Carroll County, Iowa, was adamant when presenting the benefits his county would receive by engaging EagleView (then under the Pictometry brand) to provide aerial imagery and data. He shared not only the overall benefits of aerial imagery with his board but also the amazing return on investment (ROI) potential at the county’s annual meeting in February 2014. Tiesman’s passionate appeal met success as Carroll County signed an agreement with Pictometry that today is resulting in a significant ROI in just over one year.
With a population of 20,598, and a small staff of three in the Assessor’s office, the residential revaluation of 7,300 urban residential parcels can be demanding and costly. After obtaining Pictometry imagery, the Carroll County assessment office was able to measure and analyze the properties in its jurisdiction using three-inch resolution imagery. The county was able to discover $40 million of new value, which after a 54 percent tax rollback, netted $21.6 million of new taxable value for Carroll County in the 2014 tax year.
Out of this new value, approximately 80 percent of the properties were assessed using only Pictometry imagery. The remaining 20 percent required verification through a field visit due to additional questions and interior evaluations. After calculations of the levies in the incorporated areas, this equaled $640,000 of additional tax revenue for the county.
Due to these new value adjustments, Carroll County’s sales ratios are up between 95 to 97 percent of sales, allowing an avoidance of an equalization order from the Iowa Department of Revenue.
Carroll County was the first county in Iowa to verify sketches using Pictometry imagery and the results are already paying dividends. “In one year, Pictometry [imagery] paid for itself 100 times over,” said Tiesman.
Tiesman saw the potential Pictometry imagery was capable of in Carroll County when he presented the concept. He believed the benefits would be eye-opening. The total cost of the Pictometry imagery flights in 2014 was a small percentage compared to the $4,824,000 additional tax revenue that the county is estimating they will find during the six-year contract. In addition to the tax ROI there was also the $624,000 saved from not doing re-appraisals.
Overall, Carroll County’s ROI equaled 266 percent which does not include time savings, cost of field work such as usage of county vehicles, employee morale or disruption to the citizens of the county. In addition, fewer field visits means keeping assessors safe from possible accidents or encounters with unwelcoming pets. Pictometry not only delivered an incredible ROI but helped create a more effective work environment. “[EagleView] offers amazing tools along with their imagery that make this possible,” Tiesman concluded.