Tax mapping back on track

Barbour County Assessor John Cutright told county commissioners Monday that the county has become compliant with the state on tax assessments, having resolved some issues that have been a factor for many years.

Landmark Geospatial, an addressing and mapping consulting firm in north-central West Virginia, has evaluated and identified many problems in the tax assessment system that the Barbour County Assessor’s office already had been working to correct. Some properties involved had not been visited by an assessor since 1999, Cutright said.

“We haven’t been mapping for 12 years,” Cutright said.

The corrections will help to accurately assess property values for homes, ensure that structures are assessed on the correct properties and even locate additional homes. Cutright said that about 60 homes, cabins or structures had been identified by an employee through the process.

There are still some unresolved issues, and fixing them requires funds. Of 15,084 parcels that required corrections, only 4,320 still remain within the three districts of Glade, Union and Valley. The countywide tax map annotation expenses are $30,264. The ongoing parcel maintenance charge is $20 per mapping change. The mapping data site and software has an initial cost of $4,800 with a $375 monthly fee.

Commissioners voted to appropriate $50,000 to make additional corrections and to help with the costs.

An initial survey conducted in March 2012 by Landmark Geospatial identified missing lot parcels, incorrect road widths, incorrectly named parcels and incorrectly drawn parcels. Wesley Bailes, the geographic information system coordinator for Landmark Geospatial, said that some of the problems already had been rectified. Bailes said the problems were in the original tax maps.

When compared to a map, the dividing lines that separate parcels of land in the county software system appeared to be skewed and enlarged. As part of the first phase of the project in 2012, Landmark Geospatial corrected 1,794 parcels in Philippi and 1,697 in Belington.

The 344 parcels in Junior were corrected by Doyle Cutright, the geographic information system technician with the mapping and addressing division of the Barbour County Office of Emergency Management, Bailes said. Landmark Geospatial provided the training, support, recommendations and quality control for the corrections.

After the second phase of the project in 2013, the corrected dimensions for the parcels of land located in the Philippi, Baker, Cove, Elk and Pleasant districts of the county had been corrected. In addition to correcting the parcels, annotations were required to produce the tax maps. The annotations include lot dimensions, lot numbers, street names, street widths, acreage and parcel identification numbers.