Word of the Week for Grays Harbor: “Pictometry”

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Okay, class. New word for the week: Pictometry. Say that 10 times fast.

What is “pictometry”? Glad you asked. It’s something being mulled over by the Grays Harbor County Commissioners for possible application in a variety of venues.

In a nutshell, “pictometry” is a patented aerial image capture process that produces imagery showing the fronts and sides of buildings and locations on the ground. Images are captured by low-flying airplanes, depicting up to 12 oblique perspectives (shot from a 40 degree angle) as well as an orthogonal (overhead) view of every location flown. These perspectives can then be stitched together to create composite aerial maps that seamlessly span many miles of terrain. The technology is more concentrated and accurate than Google maps. Possible areas of application include appraising, public safety, and law enforcement.

Find out more about pictometery here. If you’re dying to know more about what pictometery is and how it works, check out:

Lest you freak out about drones, invasions of privacy, Big Brother and what not, the commissioners say that’s not the idea or intent. Usage would not be daily or weekly, but basically once a year for use as in a benchmark-type context. Altho individual commissioners have seen pictometry presentations previously, a presentation for all three commishes was on the docket for this afternoon following the media session.

The budget was also discussed this morning. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) I could ply you with a zillion charts and graphs, facts and figures. But you would surely expire of boredom. Can’t say I’d blame ya. So here’s the cliff’s notes version:

  • Ouch.
  • Revenues are unpredictable.
  • The single largest category of general fund revenues for 2015 is Property Taxes (41%), followed by Licenses, Permits & Fees (about 15%).
  • YTD 2015 general fund expenditures by object shows that Salaries and Benefits are the biggest slice of that pie at about 74%.
  • A reduction in services looks likely at some point.

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Commissioner Vickie Raines said the commission owes it to the public to educate the public and be as transparent as possible when it comes to budget matters, particularly as they relate to general fund vs. dedicated fund expenditures. The latter can be like trying to track to ghost across the Polar Ice Caps. At midnight. Blind-folded. So don’t forget to bring a sweater. And pack a lunch.

Raines added that she favored “being open with people and having them understand what’s paid out of what pot.” The commish said she doesn’t see revenues opening up “any time in the near future. It’s painful.”
Commissioner Wes Cormier said the “biggest problem” related to the budget is hiring vs. temporary revenue, meaning that hiring new people on the basis of projected revenue from unpredictable sources probably isn’t a great idea.

And oh yeah. As of July 1, 2015, the preliminary budget screen is “available.” And the process begins again for next year.

Regarding the upcoming budget calendar for 2016, Commissioner Frank Gordon said he’d have budget numbers of his own to submit at the end of the month.

Budget balancing is slated for November, with a public hearing on the budget set for December 7. Adoption by the Board of County Commissioners “upon conclusion of hearing” is set for “on or before December 31.”

There. That wasn’t too painful, was it?

Good. Cuz there will be a quiz on Friday.

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