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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

County assessor won't apologize to GIS vendor

Friday, March 30, 2007

CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County's assessor has no intention of apologizing to the county's GIS vendor.

Commissioner Homer Oliver reported during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday on Assessor W.R. "Bill" Thompson's response to the Commission's request for an apology to Midland GIS Solutions in Sunrise Beach, the company which set up the county's geographic information system.

"Mr. Thompson said he would not," Oliver said. "Of course, he's never been satisfied with GIS."

A GIS displays a wide variety of data including parcel information for assessors as overlays in graphic formats over aerial photography maps on computer screens and on printed maps.

Oliver said Larry Hickson, a southeast Missouri field representative for the State Tax Commission, supports Thompson's refusal to apologize for negative comments made about Midland.

"He said in all fairness, GIS did not conform to the terms of the contract," Oliver said.

Oliver said Hickson also predicted Midland would not sue because of the negative publicity it would bring to the company.

Thompson said he never received mylars he was promised, according to Oliver, and has noted discrepancies of 2 to 3 feet between maps and overlays.

Oliver and Commissioner Martin Lucas agreed the discrepancies shouldn't matter as legal descriptions for lots are not affected. The map is just to assist officials with finding the lot in question and there are usually small errors when maps are digitized, they said.

"It's a best-fit situation," Lucas said. "It's an image to see where the property is, period."

New Madrid County's GIS, which is supposed to be the same system as Mississippi County's, may have fewer discrepancies because officials there are able to update aerial photography more regularly, commissioners speculated.

"We don't have the resources to do that," Lucas said.

"GIS is an information system -- it's not a survey item," he added. "It's not a perfect system."

Oliver said Thompson reportedly has new entries from the recorder's office current and correct but will need to hire someone to update old data. Hickson advised Oliver that "he doesn't think Thompson or Thompson's staff have the time or expertise" to correct the old data.

Thompson's preference is to have a company called Valley update old parcels, according to Oliver. "Anything he does in the future, he prefers to do with Valley," he said.

Oliver estimated the county has 10,000 parcels. Commissioners agreed to get a price on updating the parcels and may consider having partial batches updated when the county can afford it.