(Photo by Scott Welton, Staff)
BENTON -- A new program for Scott County's GIS has brought even more efficiency to the county assessor's mapping department.
Property tax on agricultural land is based on soil quality, according to Debbie Evans, mapper for the assessor's office.
The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service grades soil on a scale of 1-8 based on its composition. "Every grade has a different value," Evans said.
Mapping efficiency had already been improved tremendously by using the county's geographic information system, a program which overlays information in graphic form over aerial photography maps, to replace mylar overlays and paper maps formerly used.
Evans said that until a couple weeks ago, however, when mapping parcel splits she would have to manually calculate land values by multiplying each soil grade on the parcel by the acreage of that soil grade for both the original parcel and the new parcel.
The new program developed by GIS Solutions of Sunrise Beach, the county's GIS vendor, now automatically calculates soil information for parcels and generates a report available at a mouse click.
"It's great," Evans said. "It will always be current and up-to-date."
Evans said this program is so useful, GIS Solutions now will not sell their GIS systems without this feature.
"That has been their number one complaint," she said. "Soils took too long."
Evans said the last time she had a big stack of parcel splits to do, she was able to do in a week and a half what would have taken her a month to do manually before the new program.
"It's saved a lot of manhours," said Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn.