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Analysis & Issues

Stakeholder interests


Parcel data is used in many ways by many different people and organizations. Virtually every individual, community, and organization has some interest to be considered. The nine stakeholder types described earlier constitute the major groups identified in the study. The interests of these groups coincide with respect to their mutual desire for accuracy, timeliness, and consistency of parcel information. However, important differences exist among them regarding data sources and access methods, as well as cost and revenue considerations.

Table 4 shows both the areas of common agreement and the areas of divergence among these key stakeholder groups. All stakeholder types have a strong interest in high quality data, generally characterized as data that is factually accurate, up-to-date, and consistent from time to time and place to place.

Table 4. Stakeholders and their Interests
Stakeholders
Interests
Type
 
Examples
 
Consistency
 
Accuracy
 
Timeliness
 
Revenue Generation
 
Low or No Cost Retrieval
 
Online Access
 
Choice of Format
 
One Authoritative Source
 
Assessors
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
   
County Real Property Tax Services
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
    
Other County and Municipal Government Agencies
 
Emergency Response
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Planning
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Water Authority
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
State Agencies
 
Environment
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Homeland Security
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Transportation
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Real Property
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
  
Private Companies
 
Data Reseller
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
 
Digital Map Conversion
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Engineering/Planning
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
GIS Consultants
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Lien/ Tax Collector
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Realtor
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Utility
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Non-profit Organizations
 
Environmental groups
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Planning organizations
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Research organizations
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Community Groups
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Property Owners
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
Property Occupants
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
 
X
 
X
 
X
 
X
 

Accuracy, timeliness, and consistency. These general agreements, however, mask a great deal of variation. The interviews demonstrated that accuracy, timeliness, and consistency are important to everyone, but at different levels and for different reasons. Some of these differences are illustrated below.

  • An engineering firm is planning a residential subdivision. To this company, "accurate" means highly detailed survey grade information. By contrast, a town attempting to designate a rough boundary for a new municipal park in an area that has not changed ownership in decades would say an area bounded by certain streets is "accurate" for this purpose.
  • A tax collection organization needs parcel data updates only when the final tax assessment roll comes out because their core mission is to collect delinquent taxes and the preliminary tax roles do not help them do their job. However, a realtor may need to know the current tax status of a property, how much the taxes are today, and who the taxes are paid to. This information could change daily depending on the number of homes the realtor is handling within a given time period. The difference in the frequency of the transaction (i.e., annual versus daily) determines how each user defines "timely."
Digital, on-line, and single point of access. Most stakeholders strongly prefer that parcel data be available in electronic format, online, from one authoritative or trusted source, and in a variety of formats, which they can select to meet their particular needs. These features add convenience, flexibility, and efficiency to information search, access, and use. They also add confidence that data is authentic and well-documented so it can be used in appropriate ways. These interests are typically less important or not shared by the organizations most likely to collect the basic data – assessors and county real property tax offices.

Revenue generation. The greatest conflict among stakeholders occurs over the question of parcel data as a source of revenue. Here, county real property tax offices and private sector data resellers have markedly different interests than those of all the other stakeholder types. The private sector re-sellers would not exist but for the opportunity to package and sell parcel information to a variety of customers. County RPTS offices are increasingly treating parcel data as a revenue source and charging a wide range of fees for county-level data, including tax maps, even to other government agencies. These fees appear to vary widely from place to place and even from situation to situation. By contrast, most municipal assessors, all state agencies, and nearly all public, private, and civic users endorse a philosophy that the data is a public resource and should be made readily available to requesters at no more than the cost of reproduction or distribution.