YARNELL, AZ (CBS5) -
On July 3, several days after the fire erupted in Yarnell, a company named Pictometry International flew over the damage and captured images. They let the county use them for free for the past two months, but now if the county still wants access for tax assessor purposes, it'll cost them.
Yavapai County Assessor Pamela Pearsall said while they had boots on the ground reassessing the values of fire-damaged homes, they did so quickly.
"Seventeen hundred appraisals, it's possible I made a mistake or two," said Pearsall. She said their images don't capture the same detail at Pictometry International's. Now property owners have three years to file an appeal, and Pearsall said the pictures would help remove any doubt of what condition the property was left in.
"I could pull it up as of July 3, I could see exactly what I missed," Pearsall said.
But it's going to cost the county nearly $9,700, and Pearsall said she will have to find the money somewhere in her budget, and perhaps forego reassessing homes in a rural community this year. They have to assess the rural communities once every four years, and instead of going on a planned trip to Ashfork, for example, they may count Yarnell as their rural assessment trip for this year.
"That doesn't sound like an enormous sum of money or a waste," said taxpayer Corey McCoy.
"There are already people who have taken pictures so it doesn't have to be that much," said taxpayer Duke Miller.
Pearsall said she'll try and negotiate with the company to bring that price down but will ask the county board of supervisors to approve the purchase.
"I think if you're a Yarnell taxpayer, it's something you want your money to go for and I think also if you were just a Yavapai County client, you'd think, well, it's good to have it right, it's good to have it documented," Pearsall said. She said she plans on presenting her research to the board of supervisors in about two weeks.
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