Parish tax assessor seeks ARPA funds to update aerial imaging

Published 5:05 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

VIDALIA, La. — Concordia Parish Tax Assessor Jeanie Archer asked the police jury on Monday to consider using funds allocated to the parish from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to update the parish’s digital mapping system, called the geoportal.

The cost of the service is $117,098, and is provided by EagleView, she said, adding this can be paid all at once or over a three-year span.

The fee covers a flyover that would provide aerial images of the parish. Additionally, EagleView would do another flyover for free within three days of a natural disaster to help the parish assess the damage.

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These maps are open to the public online at atlas.geoportalmaps.com/concordia

The program is widely used by the public, Archer said.

“In nine months, we had almost 3 million hits on our Concordia Parish geoportal website,” Archer said. “The average per day—1,299. That’s how used this information is. I think the most people that use this are surveyors, bankers, appraisers, real estate agents or any industry from our parish. Emergency personnel or residents look at it. They want to know where their (property) lines are.”

The tax assessor’s office also uses the geoportal to help them create an accurate assessment of the properties in the parish. If a new structure is built or if one is destroyed or abandoned, Archer said the maps help them pinpoint its location. 

“We would like to have the best quality for the Town of Vidalia and the Town of Ferriday so that we could go in and look at what we’re missing—the things we can’t see from the street,” she said. “You all are dependent on me and our office to find and discover the property in the parish so you get to collect more revenue because I found it.”

Because it includes Vidalia and Ferriday, the police jury asked if the towns would also help cover the cost. 

“Nobody wants to pay money to help with the cost. They only want to collect the revenue,” Archer said. “That is why I’m asking for ARPA money to fund this because our office has maintained this out of our pocket and we’re very conservative with our money to be able to do this. For what we have, we spend over $60,000 to maintain it.”

Board member Joseph Parker offered a motion that the jury’s finance committee review Archer’s request and the motion passed unanimously.