Press Release

December 4, 2009

U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a $65,694 grant to the Washington County Board of Commissioners to develop a geographic information system (GIS) to map the county’s tax parcels. This project will help the County streamline future economic development growth, advance delivery of Web-based services for taxpayers and support disaster preparedness.

“I am very pleased by this ARC grant because it will help digitalize important Washington County property tax records, making it easier for citizens to access important tax and property records,” said
Senator Cardin. “This new, web-based information service will help streamline future economic development and growth.”

“This federal investment takes the burden off local taxpayers – literally – by saying goodbye to paper records and bringing Washington County tax records into the digital age,”
Senator Mikulski said. “I will continue to fight to put funds in the federal checkbook for grants like these that invest in communities, jobs and economic opportunities.

The project will effectively convert the county’s paper-based tax maps into a digital format. Property boundaries will be digitized, aligning them with actual boundaries found on geographically accurate digital color photographs taken on a flyover of Washington County in 2007. The project will have two phases. The first will be the development of the data. The second phase will be an ongoing effort to ensure quality. ARC funds will be used for contracted services, purchase of software and staff training. This one-year project will be managed by the GIS Office of Washington County’s Information Technologies Department.

In addition to ARC funds, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will provide $348,018, bringing total funding for the project to $413,712.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.