Borough may use aerial images to help with assessments

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The borough is considering hiring a New York-based company to take aerial images, like the one of downtown Naugatuck above, of properties to help with assessments. –CONTRIBUTED
The borough is considering hiring a New York-based company to take aerial images, like the one of downtown Naugatuck above, of properties to help with assessments. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The borough may employ a new way of viewing taxable properties — from the sky.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses is considering hiring Pictometry, a Henrietta, N.Y.-based aerial measurement company.

The company uses an aircraft with five cameras mounted on its underside to collect high-resolution images of a municipality, Pictometry Regional Technical Manager Joe Oddi told the board during a special meeting in November.

“A lot of times people use a top-down view from a satellite, looking only at the roofs of buildings. When you do that you can’t really tell a whole lot of information about that structure from that angle,” Oddi said.

Pictometry uses what is known as an oblique perspective. This allows images to include the side and roof of buildings, which gathers a lot more information, Oddi said.

If hired, the borough will use the images collected by Pictometry to accurately update property assessments in anticipation of the upcoming revaluation.

Naugatuck Assessor Carol Ann Tyler said the company’s software allows her to upload drawings of structures on each property. The drawings are then compared to what is currently on the property, she said, and any significant differences, such as an addition, are highlighted.

If any of differences are found, Tyler said, an inspector would be sent to get an accurate reading of what should be on the tax role at a property.

In 2007, Connecticut hired Pictometry to do imaging of the entire state. Oddi said the borough will have access to those images and will be able to compare them with the new images to see if anything has changed.

“The real value is to have the side view of the building so that you can be there without being there. You can understand what that building looks like,” Oddi said. “[Assessors] can do revaluations much quicker because they don’t have to drive all the way out to this location to know whether a building has changed or not.”

The cost of all the services Pictometry offers is $25,438. However, Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough would not likely need everything the company offers. He expects the cost to be closer to $17,000.

The board is expected to continue the discussion on the service, and possibly make a decision, at its next regular meeting on Dec. 5.