2017-03-16 / Front Page

County mapping system now available online

By Kelly Krager
Editor • kkrager@mihomepaper.com • 989-269-9918

HURON COUNTY — Looking to buy or sell property in Huron County or simply curious about who owns the property next door? That information and more is now available on an easy to use website provided by the county.

After more than two years of work by the county’s GIS department and a subcommittee, FetchGIS has gone live and is accessible free until April 1.

Deanna L. Kidd, Tax Mapping-GIS Director/Equalization office manager, is encouraging people to explore the new service during the trial period.

“I’m excited for people to go online and get acclimated to it. This is so huge for this county,” she said.

Once the trial period has ended, site visitors will still be able to view the map and access the property number and its owner for free. Additional information will cost $3 for a single access, $125 for 50 and $200 for 100. Kidd said the packages expire one year after they are purchased.

“I’m encouraging a lot of them right now to just buy the smaller package until they use to it and see how much they’re using it. If they find they’re using it a lot, then they can go with a larger package,” she said.

The service is also available to all county departments and municipalities that have opted to use it for their tax mapping. Currently, 17 of the county’s taxing units have signed on, Kidd said.

The townships and cities will pay an annual fee, and the website will replace the paper tax maps each municipality must purchase every year.

“This is actually cheaper than the maps, and when they’re getting the maps, they’re getting only their township. This provides them with detailed information about the whole county,” Kidd said.

Eventually, she hopes to provide the service to individuals at no cost, which will be possible if all the municipalities decide to opt in.

“The amount we would receive from those fees would total the exact amount we pay for the service each year,” Kidd said.

To check out the service, go to www.amalgamonline.com. Then, click the FetchGIS dropdown menu at the top right-hand side of the page, and select “FetchGIS Community Sites.” A page listing several municipalities will open.

Next, click the Huron County link, which will open a pop-up user agreement window. If your computer has a pop-up blocker, you will have to allow it to accept the pop-up.

A map of the county will then open. During the trial period, anyone can log in at no cost using “FreeTrial” as the username and “FreeTrial1” as the password. Note that the username and password are case sensitive, and there are no spaces between the characters.

Website visitors can then zoom in to their area of interest using either the tools located on the upper left-hand corner or by pointing a location with the mouse and using the mouse’s scroll wheel.

The image will zoom in close enough to allow users to see houses, outbuildings and even cars, but not enough to invade the privacy of residents.

Once the site user zooms in on a location, streets and parcel boundaries will appear. To find out more about a specific parcel, simply click on it. The parcel number, address and owner’s name will appear on the screen. If the property is bank-owned, the name of the bank will be shown.

Registered users, including people taking advantage of the free trial period, will then be able to access more information, such as the property value, acreage, taxes, property class and school district. The site also lists dates the property has been sold and what the purchase price was.

Users will also have the option of generating a printable report that includes a color aerial photo, complete with marked boundary lines and roads, and detailed information about the property.

The report even itemizes local millage rates and how much the property owner pays for each tax item.

Kidd said she is working to add more details to the system, including fire districts, turbine locations, railroad lines, soil layers and blueprints.

“Now we can keep building and adding to this. Pretty much, the sky is the limit,” she said.

During the month of March, users might find the most recent tax data is not available on the site, as the county treasurer’s office is working to input the data, Kidd said. If that information is needed immediately, people can get it by calling their local treasurer.

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