$100,000 For Photos!

At a time of such economic uncertainty, why would the Flagstaff City Council be spending $100,000 for aerial photography? I will be asking this question and many more at this Tuesdays March 26th Council Meeing.

The photography is to be used in Flagstaff’s GIS mapping system. This is a system I am very familiar with since myself and many people use it often to check out properties and other data from a computer. With this system you can view parcels of land, buildings, streets, and other data. It’s a great tool.

At last Tuesday’s meeting I raised several questions about the need to spend $100,000 to update the photos in the GIS. The current photos are from 2007. Looking at Yavapai County’s GIS system, a system I am also very familiar with, I notice they use map layers from several different third party companies such as Bing (kind of like Google Earth). I asked staff to talk to Yavapai and see what it costs to use such a service instead of taking our own pictures. The argument for taking our own photos is for better image resolution. While I’ll admit the photos they are proposing to take appear to be a little clearer and can zoom in a bit more versus Bing, how clear do we really need these images? The system we currently use and Yavapai’s system are very clear and with changing technologies should only continue to improve over time.

With over $25,000,000 needed just to fix our streets, how can anyone justify spending $100,000 on aerial photography? Perhaps we can zoom in and see all the pot holes in high definition?

I was thinking back today, I have been on the Council for ten months and I cannot think of one expenditure that the Flagstaff City Council has voted down in that time, not one! Myself and several of my colleagues vote down expenditures all the time but I cannot think of one time that the majority has turned down an expense. Is nothing to be cut? Is there no expense our City cannot live without? Is aerial photography critical and vital to our city’s future?

I’d love to hear from you on this issue. I think this is an important vote coming up on Tuesday and will answer the question, is every expense a sacred cow?

You can always email (council@flagstaffaz.gov) myself and the entire Council your opinion and you are free to call City Hall (928-213-2015) or show up to Tuesday’s 6:00PM meeting.

Link to Yavapai County GIS

Link to Coconino County GIS

11 thoughts on “$100,000 For Photos!

  1. Thanks, dear Jeff, for your wonderful job!!!

    >________________________________ > From: Jeff Oravits >To: mgk138@yahoo.com >Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:15 PM >Subject: [New post] $100,000 For Photos! > > > WordPress.com >jeff oravits posted: “At a time of such economic uncertainty, why would the Flagstaff City Council be spending $100,000 for aerial photography? I will be asking this question and many more at this Tuesdays March 26th Council Meeing. The photography is to be used in Flagstaff” >

  2. Personally I think that $100,000 on new aerial photography is a crock! I have used the GIS system and the resolution is fine enough for it’s use. I am guessing they want to be able to see every little thing you have in your backyard so they can either fine you or raise your taxes! Sorry buy I really feel this city is just trying too hard to spend money frivolously so they can bump up property taxes outrageously every year!

  3. In light of Flagstaff being an island city, within federal jurisdictions and the fact that imagry is available via Google, Bing and other private entities and the fact that the Forest Service surrounding Flagstaff makes extensive use of GIS for its decision making processes, why on earth would/should we spend that kind of money for something that’s already available via some partnering? Come on City Council……do your jobs! Spend OUR money wisely and RESPONSIBLY!!! Commendations to Jeff for seeing this the herring it is! Get on the stick City Council!!!

  4. I appreciate your insistence to rise above the money grab just because it’s there. It’s a hard difficult decision of impulse and discipline. Thanks for the discipline! Money is important to spend to keep the whole system moving but priorities have been mired in a spending frenzy our kids will realize was a giant mistake.

  5. Jeff, a better question might be why is the City of Flagstaff providing this service for free. If business owners(such as yourself) are using this facility to enhance your own private enterprise, why are taxpayers supporting the cost? This is a question that should be asked of many city “services”. Want to cut costs? Reduce the number of free services.

  6. Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for your constant desire to find wasteful spending and recommending more fiscal responsibility to the council. I use the GIS system sometimes, and it meets my needs as is. While updating the aerial pictures may be of benefit, our city has more urgent needs.

    I just wrote an email to the council expressing my views. Knowing how the council has voted since you assumed your council seat I wish I could say the council will vote against spending this money, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. The one thing I do know is that come election time I will work doubly hard to replace any free spending council member that runs for reelection.

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