OLATHE, Kan. — Starting this month, the Johnson County Appraiser’s Office will move forward with a property-imaging project to help the county appraise property values.
The project happens every six years and carries a price tag of roughly $706,000.
"What we're required to do by the director for the Department of Revenue is to actually put together and have a physical street view of all the properties on file," said Johnson County Appraiser Beau Boisvert. "In the old days would pay two people to drive down the street, and another person with the camera and the passenger seat, stop and go and snapshot everything. So we actually calculated that out and as we had done it ourselves personally, for this project, it would cost us $2 million. Well obviously, that's not a very good use of county money, and certainly public expense."
Tyler Technologies and Cyclomedia have partnered with the county to take high-resolution street-level photos of the exterior of every property, commercial and residential.
A white Cyclomedia vehicle, with a camera affixed to the roof, will drive through the county to complete the project, which will cover about 3,800 drive miles - excluding interstate highways, cemeteries and interior parking lot lanes - and will last about a year, with time built in to cover weather events.
"The reason we do it in the winter though is because the trees don't have leaves. So you actually get a better picture of the homes than we would if we did this in the summer. With the big bushes in the house, you wouldn't get the clarity of the pictures. So that's one reason why we do it in the winter," Boisvert said.
The county will blur out all private pieces of the images, including faces, license plates and other information.
The imaging project, while only happening every six years, runs in tandem with the county's annual appraisal process. Those bills will go out in March, with 60 days to file an appeal.
"We actually were down 2,000 appeals from the previous year," Boisvert said. "It was the lowest number of appeals we had in 10 years. So I think our appeals usually come from commercial and residential, it’s usually pocket areas where there's been a lot of activity for sales, and therefore there's more market and yes the inflated values to some degree because it's what people are willing to pay. But that's, unfortunately, something we have to live with because we live in a county that doesn't have a lot of inventory."