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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Parish assessor offers interactive resource

Parish assessor offers interactive resource

Lafourche Parish Assessor Wendy Thibodeaux addressed the Parish Council at Tuesday night’s public meeting, introducing her office’s newest resource—an interactive geoportal mapping system for the entire parish.

A project begun several years ago under then-Parish Assessor Michael Martin, Thibodeaux’s office hired Geographic Computer Technologies (GCT) of Metairie, LA to design and implement a geographic information system which can help the user find any parcel of land in the parish, identify ownership, and access the tax rolls which apply to that parcel.

GCT is a full service information technology company which has been in the business of planning, development, and implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) for the past 10 years and was selected New ESRI Business Partner of the Year in 2002.

ESRI is the acronym for the Environmental Systems Research Institute, an international supplier of Geographic Information System software.

“Mike Martin and I worked on this project for the last seven years. We sat down each year and decided how many parcels we could afford to draw. Some years we did one hundred, some years more. Now, we have a visual representation of the tax rolls,” said Thibodeaux.

She called GCT a “magnificent company”, noting that the group’s product is user-friendly and that they were able to layer the mapping system to include identifying taxing districts within the parish.
“You can now see who pays within those districts--who pays the school board, who pays the recreation district, and so on,” she said.

When asked about how the system will know of new construction in the parish, Thibodeaux said her office will rely on the parish’s permit office for updates, and pass that information on to GCT.

The system will be updated and redrawn once a month, said Thibodeaux.
Councilman Daniel Lorraine, who has had many issues with delays in getting condemned structures demolished in his district, was pleased with the possibilities of the new mapping system.

Oftentimes, ascertaining ownership of abandoned structures is the most difficult hurdle and one which causes the greatest delay in getting them cleared out.

“This should be an asset to identifying owners. This way, we can track them down,” said Lorraine.
During the presentation, Ronnie Volkmar of GCT, demonstrated other capabilities of the system, how it can be used at one’s computer, or with a mobile device.

Searches can be performed in numerous ways, including by assessment number, subdivision name, and physical address. A “measurement” function within the program allows the user to get distances and square footage of parcels.

Even oil wells are included in the map feature, with each well’s particular information attached.
The system can be accessed through the Lafourche assessor’s website——under the mapping tab.