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Assessing land values with GIS support

Assessing property owners’ land values should become a little easier in Henderson County, US in the near future. A $250,000 GIS project was approved by county board members. The system will bring the county into compliance with an Illinois Department of Revenue mandate that all counties have new maps by 2005 to be used with a new productivity index created by the University of Illinois.

“If the county is not in compliance by 2005, the state has the power to withhold the final multiplier, a critical part of the assessment formula,” Melinda Clark from the county assessments office said earlier this year. The GIS format will afford the assessor’s office the opportunity to analyze soil types and land values in the county more precisely and in less time. Implementation of the GIS will not affect land values, only assess it more accurately. A GIS mapping format will not only allow for streamlining the assessment process, but will benefit other county offices as well.

Funding for the project has been split three ways between the county, state and the Illinois Geological Society. Cost of the project will be spread over a four–year period. Mark Dupree, a representative with The Sidwell Company, which will complete the project for Henderson County, said the system should take between 30 and 36 months to complete. Work is scheduled to begin once aerial photography is completed. The map currently used by Henderson County was published in 1946 and made available in the mid–1950s. Barring any problems, the assessor’s office usually requires two months each year to complete the assessment process.