GIS has given us incredibly valuable tools to support the staff and citizens of Stark County. We plan to take advantage of location[-based] technology to add even more capabilities and grow the successful solutions we already have.
Serving Users, Saving Time: Tax Parcel Viewer Brings Modern Parcel Management to Stark County
Stark County, North Dakota, meets long-term challenges, adds capabilities, and empowers residents with Parcel Viewer solution.
For Natalie Wandler, Stark County's tax director and geographic information system (GIS) specialist, finding time to focus on GIS-based goals was a challenge. She had been dealing with issues with the county's system for managing tax parcel data for some time, but with GIS tasks comprising just 10 percent of her role, those issues regularly had to be sidelined to accommodate other priorities.
A different system was needed, one that would provide the reliability that was critical to such a valuable local government function as well as add functionality required by staff and public users. The county needed a solution based on modern technology that would deliver the following:
- The ability to search parcels
- The ability to buffer parcels for mailings and other outreach efforts
- Access to maps for zoning and districts such as fire, ambulance, commissioners, schools, Weed Board and legislative
- The ability to provide residents with information at their fingertips
Deploying the Right Solution
To overcome the challenge of her time constraints, Wandler sought support from the county's GIS partner, Pro-West & Associates, to define the right solution. The answer came in the form of an ArcGIS Online solution, Tax Parcel Viewer. The solution would turn the county's parcel data into meaningful information that could be easily accessed by public users as well as county staff.
In addition to providing capabilities that met the county's requirements, Tax Parcel Viewer was appealing because of its availability via software as a service (SaaS), which gives the county the option to provide on-demand, live updates of each parcel in the county. This allows for maximum efficiency and minimal ongoing maintenance. The viewer application could also be deployed efficiently to meet a tight deadline, when the county's current system would be deactivated.
Tax Parcel Viewer was configured with a script that automatically publishes the data maintained by Stark County in ArcGIS Online. The script allows users to see the most up-to-date information and find answers to their questions independently, without having to call or visit the county offices.
In addition to accomplishing the four goals laid out above, the county has seen value in a number of areas:
- Dramatic reduction in inquiries by phone and in person for information related to property records
- Heavy use by realtors, bankers, appraisers, internal staff, and members of the public
- Resolution of the technology-related issues associated with the county's legacy system
- Support for the voting process and addition of new addresses in the county's Voices Voting software, thanks to the maps generated
"There was nothing I needed that we weren't able to accomplish. Seeing the ideas I had had for years come to fruition and benefiting our staff and public users has been incredibly rewarding,"—Natalie Wandler
Beyond Tax Parcel Viewer
Along with the success of Tax Parcel Viewer, Stark County is benefiting from a public notification solution that allows Wandler's office to identify and efficiently reach out to property owners within a defined range of a given location. The solution generates mailing labels based on the data related to those properties so that owners can be notified of a formal action being taken.
"I am glad to provide a modern solution that meets our residents' expectations by providing the information they need, when they need it. The reduction in requests for information has also brought some relief to my dual role at the county, allowing me to focus on keeping us moving forward," said Wandler.
With the adoption of a modern ArcGIS software-based strategy for managing and sharing information about tax parcels, Stark County can collaborate with the City of Dickinson (the county seat) more easily, ensuring quality parcel data is maintained by both organizations. It has eased any additional effort required to participate in the State of North Dakota's project to create a single, statewide parcel layer.
The City of Dickinson's parcel data is automatically displayed in the county's parcel viewer via a publishing script, while another script allows the state to access both the county's and the city's parcel data and incorporate it into the statewide parcel layer.
Wandler's vision continues to grow. First and foremost, the county is focusing on improving its data so that more interactive solutions can be deployed to share information on farm exemptions and property sales, downloadable layers, and more.
A community internet presence based on ArcGIS Hub is also in the works to provide an easy-to-access location for public-facing GIS solutions.
With a robust foundation in ArcGIS Online, Stark County is ready to expand its GIS solutions, embracing new technologies as they emerge and adding capabilities to serve users' needs.