Inspiration

Baltimore City has the highest property tax rate in Maryland. Property tax credits are provided by the state but homeowners are often unaware of them or the requirements for eligibility. Furthermore, the website describing this program is densely written and difficult to understand.

The purpose of this project is to make the homeowner's tax credit and the data behind it more accessible. We hope this will encourage more homeowners to learn about and apply for the tax credit. Additionally we hope this will help community activists identify, inform, and assist other individuals who may qualify but have not yet applied.

What it does

The project is primarily a web map intended to identify both owner occupied properties in the city as well and illustrate which homes were receiving a tax credit.

Additionally, we constructed a RESTful API for live access to official property tax records for each property included in the map.

To increase the usability and exposure of these elements, we built a website to provide awareness about the program as well as to highlight the map and provide information about how people can apply for the credit.

How we built it

Property data was gathered from the Baltimore City Open GIS portal. This property data was processed in Python using the pandas and geopandas modules. It was converted to raster tiles and styled in Tilemill. Tiles were uploaded to Mapbox for hosting.

The property tax API was generated by building a Flask app to generate the appropriate POST requests to cause the server to send back the HTML-formatted records for the requested property.

The website was built using Jekyll beginning with a pre-existing template and the site was hosted as a static page on github.

Links to github repos

Challenges we ran into

Not all of Maryland's data is "open". Current records on property and tax information are not easily linkable or accessible via any API.

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