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Comptroller’s Office Provides Assistance to Counties after Tornado

GIS Mapping Application shows impacted properties
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 08:00am

In the wake of the March 3 tornadoes that impacted several counties in Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and its Division of Property Assessments (DPA) quickly provided assistance to county governments.

While much of the attention was on Metro-Davidson County, two counties to the east – Wilson and Putnam – had significant damage and comparatively fewer public resources.

A major challenge for these counties involved mapping the damage and understanding how it would affect property valuations.

After reaching out to the Assessors of Property in Wilson and Putnam Counties, Stephen Goodall and Steve Pierce, respectively, DPA determined how it could assist.

DPA staff specializing in geographic information systems (GIS), quickly developed and deployed a damage survey app so that each assessor could capture GPS coordinates, photos, and damage assessment on a mobile device. Data collected in the app fed directly into an online dashboard for a comprehensive view of the tornado damage. The tool can also be leveraged to determine which properties need to have their assessments prorated.

An example of the data collected can be seen in this dashboard for Wilson County. 

In addition to GIS support, “boots on the ground” appraisal support from DPA’s Field Operations team has been offered to each county as assessors begin the process of prorating assessments of the affected properties. 

Ultimately, the support to these counties will include multiple departments within DPA showcasing expertise in GIS, appraisal, systems, and special projects. 

“The tornadoes that struck our state were both devastating and tragic,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “I’m pleased that we were able to provide a swift response to Wilson and Putnam counties that will help those local governments effectively respond to this disaster.”

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