Tax maps to mirror Casco parcels

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Don’t worry, property taxpayers.

The Town of Casco is NOT paying to put small planes in the air, and take aerial photos of each and every parcel within its town’s boundaries.

There is no need to fly — with the advent of modern technology like Google Earth, the State of Maine’s Web Map 2011 imagery cross-referenced with higher resolution aerial photos from 2001, and the constant assistance of the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds.

Robert Rogers, a geographical information system (CADIGIS) technician, is the person responsible for updating the tax maps — something most towns do on a yearly basis. Rogers spoke during a workshop of the Casco Board of Selectmen on Tuesday evening. Part of the job involves aerial mapping.

“No part of what we are doing involves flying a plane and taking a picture of Casco. Nope. We are relying on the data that is already out there,” Rogers said. He explained the many methods he uses to make tax maps that mirror property changes made over the past year. Another one of his objectives was to improve the quality of the tax maps.

At one point in his PowerPoint presentation he provided selectmen with a summary of changes. He said roughly 50 real estate transactions, rezoning or subdividing had occurred. Those property changes had resulted in changes to 30 actual tax maps.

He began to show “then versus now” slides of the maps.

Casco Town Manager Dave Morton interjected momentarily, saying he was speaking on behalf of residents — who might be watching the workshop on the cable TV station, and who think there is a proposed property line change.

“He is not changing anyone’s property lines. He is changing the maps to reflect property changes. He is adjusting the maps” to show the real lines of parcels that have had changes made at the Registry of Deeds, Morton said.

Rogers picked back up with his presentation. “So the assessor and the people of Casco know that I am not just drawing lines randomly. I am drawing lines to show the property changes,” he said.

“I always find a recorded plan or a recorded deed before I change it on the map,” Rogers said.

Typically, the job of bringing the town’s tax maps up-to-date is an annual affair. But, the Town of Casco skipped a year. So, there’s a little catching up to do.

According to Rogers, the two-year update will cost $4,500 and has a completion deadline of May 31, 2013.

Rogers said it was being in done in conjunction with the property revaluation, which also has a two-year completion deadline. The revaluation process began in late April, and seasonal residents were contacted for the first time in summer 2012.

According to Rogers, his job is made more accurate with the assistance of local engineers and survey technicians. “They will want to play a role in the process, and will send us Computer-aided design (CAD) files to help with the update,” he said.

“And, there is more of your (state) tax dollars at work,” Roger said, in reference to utilizing the 2012 imagery available on the State of Maine’s Web Map service.

The state comes to the rescue again. Route 302, a state-owned road, which was widened in recent years, passes through South Casco. The Maine Department of Transportation has professional maps of state rights-of-way and other property lines, he said.

Also, the 2011 digital maps of Casco were provided free of cost by John O’Donnell & Associates, Rogers said.

“The good thing is: If you wait long enough to do the project, by the time you do it, the technology will have improved,” Rogers said.


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