Montcalm County aerial imaging project moves forward

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:02 am on Monday, February 03, 2014


Evergreen Township Supervisor Lyle Braman Jr. was among those at Monday’s Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting asking for more information about an upcoming aerial flyover imaging project. Local townships will be paying a portion of the county’s cost to fund the project. (Daily News/Cory Smith)

STANTON — A comprehensive land photography project is on its way to Montcalm County.

On Monday, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with Pictometry International Corp. for an aerial flyover project to take place this spring. The project will cost Montcalm County a total of $106,472.50 over three years, a reduced cost thanks to a group project with several other counties, including Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa. The cost includes imagery capture, desktop software, onsite training and technical support.

The total cost of Montcalm County’s portion of project will be funded in part by local municipalities. According to Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer, the project will cost each township from $1,500 to $2,500, spread out over three years.

The commissioners’ vote to approve the aerial flyover project was addressed by several people during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting.

Keith Phelps, a Stanton resident, asked why the county couldn’t just use the free Google maps service instead. Hyzer said while Google maps offers a view of images from the top down, the aerial flyover project will offer a more comprehensive look at the sides and measurements of buildings.

“The equalization office and some townships use it, other townships have expressed interest in having it for their assessors,” noted Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview. “There’s also layers the drain commissioner could use, health department, fire department, police, cities. There’s several players who have expressed intestine the availability of those maps.”

Commissioner John Johansen of Montcalm Township said public safety will also benefit from the project.

“This program will allow fire or police to go on scene and if they have somebody in a building, they can see where their people are and so forth,” Johansen said. “That was one of the main reasons (to support it).”

Tom Porter of Maple Valley Township said township officials previously had to measure every building in the township for equalization purposes.

“We won’t have to have boots on the ground to find out what the dimensions are now,” Porter said. “There is a substantial savings to that. I think it’s going to be invaluable.

“This actually will be a tool for Stanton,” added Stanton City Manager James Freed. “We will use it in Stanton.”

Phelps seemed satisfied with the explanations.

“That’s quite a value added,” he said. “I don’t have any problem with that.”

For more information about Pictometry, visit online.

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