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CHATHAM – During a typical reassessment of Real Property, assessors would go out and visit properties on foot, taking one or two pictures for records. Deterrents such as dogs, locked gates, and citizens who were not home or did not want to provide access would often prevent assessors from getting equal information from every property.
Instead of relying on typical methods for the 2022 Pittsylvania County reassessment, Brightminds LLC is utilizing drone technology to capture aerial images of county properties. Currently, Brightminds is the only reassessment company in the state utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for reassessment—an approach that allows them to efficiently gather more equal information for every property, home, and business.
“We stand apart as far as the information and data we're able to provide the county by using this approach,” said Partner William Cole, a Caswell County native who previously worked as an assessor in Danville. "We feel like it's a lot more thorough than just sending someone out on foot to walk around and taking one picture, maybe two."
Periodic reassessment of property values is legally required by the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure that county citizens and landowners pay appropriate taxes based upon up-to-date market values. These values are kept on file by the commissioner of the revenue. Pittsylvania County typically operates on a four-year reassessment cycle.
“Brightminds is utilizing state-of-the-art technology for the reassessment of Pittsylvania County properties, which will improve the efficiency of the process and the quality of the results,” said Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman.
Brightminds LLC has already begun the reassessment of Real Property and will continue evaluating properties for the next year. Notices of updated property values will be mailed to each property owner in the fall of 2021, and the updated values will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
A clearly identified certified FAA pilot with Brightminds will utilize different takeoff points to complete drone flyovers. Assessors will examine the photographs taken by the drones and flag the properties that do not match previous records and need to be examined in person.
Cole and company founder Steven Chastang decided to start the company because they saw that many Virginia localities were using inefficient methods for reassessment. In the few years since its founding, Brightminds has performed reassessment of property for several Virginia localities, including King William and Essex Counties, but Pittsylvania County is the largest so far – both in terms of population and landmass. Even though their methods will provide more comprehensive information and imaging, the cost for Pittsylvania County is significantly less than the previous reassessment.
Citizens can keep track of where the assessors and drone pilots will be working by following this map of tax grids, which is broken down by the week. If you have questions about where the crews will be working, please contact William Cole with Brightminds at 434-483-4361.