• 52°

County agrees to new mapping technology

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
This week Escambia County was awarded a state grant in the amount of $74,230 to be used toward new mapping technology by the county tax assessor's office.
Tax assessor Jim Hildreth presented the proposed technology upgrade to the Escambia County Commission at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Hildreth said the State Department of Revenue has been encouraging Escambia County to adopt this more accurate technology, called digital ortho photography.
Images of the county would be recorded from the air, and weather and seasonal conditions must be appropriate when this is done. Hildreth said January and February are usually the ideal time.
In addition to its accuracy, another advantage of digital ortho photography is that it could be useful to other agencies in the county. For example, Hildreth said, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians could use the mapping data for industrial development, or Escambia County Emergency Management Agency could use the data to project flooding danger.
As commission chairman Larry White pointed out, the mapping data can also be sold, potentially off-setting the entire cost of the project.
The total cost of the project will be $248,799 over two years. The commission voted on Tuesday to approve the project -- to be carried out by Mid-Atlantic Technology of Huntsville -- contingent upon attorney Thad Moore's approval of the contract.
Hildreth said 19 Alabama counties were awarded funding for this technology and if other counties choose not to participate, Escambia County may be awarded more funding.
In other business, the commission discussed the reinvestment of $1 million in its nearly $7-million oil and gas severance trust on Tuesday.
Banks in the county submitted investment bids and Dan Britton with South Alabama Trust advised the commission to accept a bid from United Bank in Atmore. The commission voted to approve the investment in a 24-mont certificate of deposit with an interest rate of 3.31 percent.
In other business, the commission: