BENTON - Sometimes it's all in the timing and the way you ask.
Scott County Commissioners were briefed during their regular meeting Tuesday by County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger and Don Hagan, geographic information system consultant for Midland GIS Solutions, on the last couple of requirements to fulfill before the county's application for City and County Homeland Security grant funding is submitted.
Application documents are due Friday, "so we'll be sending them off today," Schwaninger said during the meeting.
An award amount of $43,880 has been allotted the county based on the population.
The application will request the entire amount, with $4,000 for a comprehensive needs assessment study; $20,000 for aerial photography of non-urban areas in the county; and $19,880 for the first phase of the base map production and map data conversion.
Even though the county will be able to use the system in a wide variety of ways, it is important to specify on the application funds are being sought for a Homeland Security-related GIS. "We can't tell SEMA we're using Homeland Security money for the assessor's office," Schwaninger said.
Chaffee and Scott City both have their own Homeland Security funds allotted them through the City and County Homeland Security grant program because they have more than 3,000 people, according to Schwaninger.
Scott City is applying for aerial photography funding, Schwaninger said, and Chaffee, which already has current aerial photography and was allotted $15,920 under this program, is requesting $4,000 for a needs assessment and $11,500 for the first phase of the base map production and map data conversion.
Hagan said he is impressed with the level of cooperation between the county and city governments in Scott County.
"That's seldom seen," he said. "Scott City, Chaffee, Sikeston and the county are working very well together."
Hagan said this close cooperation makes the county less vulnerable to both terrorist acts and natural disasters.
Commissioner Walter Bizzell said the projected price for the GIS seems to be much lower than when the Commission first began looking into it.
"It's less than it was two to three years ago," confirmed Hagan. He said that in addition to the cost of aerial photography coming down, GIS companies now face competition unlike five years ago when the few companies in the business "charged double, triple" what the services should have cost.
In other Scott County news:
* A new two-year cellular phone contract for the sheriff's department was approved by commissioners.
The bid was awarded to Z-Best in Sikeston which offered Verizon cellphone service for $560 per month.
"It's more minutes and less money," said Capt. Brenda Schiwitz.
The contract includes 6,000 "shared minutes," Schiwitz said, which is up from the previous plan's 4,350; and 15 cellphones and lines. "These are not fancy phones, not camera phones."
Schiwitz said Z-Best offered an additional 50 percent law enforcement discount, bringing down the equipment cost down to $349.50.
Also bidding were JCS Telelink in Cape Girardeau which offered a Verizon plan for $713 per month and $1,560 for equipment; and the department's previous cellular phone provider, ESI of Sikeston, which bid Cingular service at $560 per month and $1,709.25 for equipment.
* A tentative starting date of Aug. 2 was set by commissioners for the asphalt overlay on the one mile of paved roadway on the Highway 266 project. The overlay bid was awarded to Apex Paving Company during the Commission's regular meeting March 23.
"The county has to finish their portion first," said Commissioner Jamie Burger. County Road and Bridge Department crews are responsible for preparation, drainage, and paving gravel stretches with blade mix asphalt.
The project, which is funded by the Delta Regional Authority, is upgrading County Road 266 to connect Highway P at Perkins and Highway 77 to serve both economic and public safety needs.
* The county will open the new bridge on County Road 353 on the east side of the county near Lusk on May 4.
"We're finishing the approaches," said Burger.