New county website will tie to GIS and aerial mapping site

A new Morgan County government website has been in service for close to a month, with added features and a more modern look for users.

The site holds county agency information, meeting schedules and agendas, frequently-used government forms. Each courthouse department, from the Sheriff’s tax office to the County Clerk, is linked through the site, making it easier for residents and taxpayers to get information about property and records.

County administrator Larry Thomas said the idea is let residents and property owners get to information more easily, and to a news source for government activities.

Users can sign up for email notifications of county meetings and agendas. Thomas said the next phase of website upgrades would include online form submission.

In early summer, the county site will link to a new county-run website that will host aerial photography of the county with layers of other information – from property date to road and address information.

On March 14, the Morgan County Commission approved a contract with Atlas Geographic to create the site and take the aerial photography that will be loaded onto the website. The site will cost the county $3,600 per year. Atlas Geographic will create the website, provide technical support to the county and maintain the data hosted there.

Stefanie Allemong, the county’s director of geographic information systems (GIS), told county officials that the company can load any layer of information the county requests – from assessor’s parcel data to West Virginia flood zones.

The website will be free to use, but users will have to certify that the information is being used for research purposes only, not for commercial gain.

Allemong said the site will be helpful to the Assessor’s Office, since they can see structures that have been built on properties. It will also benefit 911 and the Office of Emergency Services, but giving an overview of access points in case of natural disaster, fire, or a law enforcement incident.

Allemong said the company will post the existing aerial images of Morgan County this summer. New aerial photography will be loaded by the end of the 2018.

County officials approved a $17,290 contract with Atlas Geographic to take aerial photography of the county this spring for use on the new GIS website.

“Most counties are already doing this,” said Commissioner Bob Ford.

“This is the public’s information,” said Commission President Joel Tuttle.