Despite snow, reassessment comes to North Strabane, Peters

December 18, 2013
Snow covers the roof of a log cabin on Brehm Road in North Strabane Township. - Robin Richards / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

There will likely be a wintry look to residential and commercial image collection and verification that began this week in Peters Township.

And although snow tends to obscure the type of material used for roofing – a factor in appraising the value of a dwelling – the vast majority of commercial buildings have flat roofs which don’t show up in street-level images photographed from Tyler Technology’s slow-moving van.

“Even if it snows a dusting, if the roof is covered, we don’t take the image,” said Wesley Graham, Tyler Technologies’ project supervisor for the Washington County reassessment.

“If we can see 50 percent of the roof, we go on and take the photo. We are impeded by the weather if it’s snowing or raining quite hard,” said Graham.

Heavy frost can also obscure a roof, but, unlike snow, frost doesn’t last long.

Slippery roads can also ground the van. “I don’t know if we start exactly at 8 o’clock,” Graham said.

Winter here had an early start, according to Dave Samuhel, meteorologist in State College for, with a tenth of an inch of snow at the Washington County Airport Oct. 24.

From that date through 3 p.m. Wednesday, the airport has received 15.1 inches of snow, exceeding the average measurement of 4.1 inches.

AccuWeather records measurable snow as .1 inch or more, and that has occurred on 14 days since Oct. 24.

“We factored that into our production,” Graham said of the snowy weather and driving rain.

“We’re right where we’re supposed to be,” Graham said. “We’re a little ahead of the game on commercial data collection, and right where we’re supposed to be on residential.”

The imaging van also photographs tax-exempt buildings.

Residential data collectors, Graham said, have gone through about a quarter of the neighborhoods in North Strabane Township and they’ll be working there throughout the first of the year.

A dozen data collectors are working there, along with two group leaders. Tyler has 22 employees in Washington County so far, and in mid-January it plans to schedule a training class for at least six new hires.

Predicting when the photography might be completed in Peters is just as difficult as predicting inclement weather, Graham said.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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