Phelps County's assessor wants to move forward with a proposal for a system that uses an aerial image capture process, which he says will benefit his office as well as other departments.
On Tuesday morning, Assessor Bill Wiggins presented county commissioners with two proposals from Pictometry International Corp. for the system that uses a technique called pictometry.
Through pictometry, low-flying planes capture pictures of the land and produce orthographic and oblique aerial imagery of every parcel in the county. That means the images not only show the tops but also sides of buildings and structures on the ground in high resolution.
The two proposals differ by about $8,000 in cost depending on whether the City of Rolla and its departments agree to participate with the county or whether only the county signs a contract.
Wiggins plans to meet with city officials Thursday about the proposals. He said city officials would like different enhancements, such as an elevation model, that the county does not want. Wiggins said he would be willing to discuss a cost-share agreement between the county and city for the $8,000 difference.
Several county and city departments and boards viewed a presentation about pictometry earlier in the fall.
Wiggins said he talked with the county sheriff's department about moving forward and the sheriff's department has agreed to underwrite the initial $6,000 down payment for the system.
Without the city's participation, Wiggins said the system would cost roughly $71,500 for the first two years of a six-year contract but noted that is only an estimate.
Every two years, the county could opt for another flight to update the aerial images.
"At the end of the second year, we can decide if money is not appropriated for the second flight, the contract states that we're not out anything. You just notify them and they cancel their flight," Wiggins said.
Through pictometry, Wiggins said his office can save money when staff visit properties to make measurements and review changes during reassessment years. He said the pictometry images can be integrated with the county's GIS (geographic information system) unlike Bing or Google map imagery, and Wiggins's staff can access the system using their mobile devices while working in the field.
However, Wiggins noted that after the first flight, if he notices no cost savings to his office, then he would likely not ask for a second flyover. He noted that the second and third flights will cost more than the first flight.
Wiggins told county commissioners that several counties have purchased the pictometry system without going out for bids because the company has patents on the technology that allows for oblique 45-degree angle images with geo-reference information that no other company has currently, but he said it is up to the commissioners if they want to seek bids.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm not asking you to sign a contract today," Wiggins said. The commissioners decided to run the proposal by the county counselor before making a decision.
Wiggins said he would like the county to be included on the flight schedule for pictometry, in which the planes would likely fly over Phelps County in early 2013.
The last time aerial images of the county were taken was about six to eight years ago, according to Wiggins.
It also was noted that there will be no county commission meeting Thursday because Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp, District One Commissioner Larry Stratman and District Two Commissioner-Elect Gary Hicks will be attending training that morning.