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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

Mississippi County looks to set up new GIS system

Friday, March 22, 2002

CHARLESTON - Setting up a Geographic Information System for the Mississippi County was once again the chief topic during Thursday's county commission meeting.

"I have copies of the needs assessment report for you," said Don Hagan, Geographic Information System consultant for Midland GIS Solutions of Sunrise Beach.

Hagan also presented his company's proposal for what they believe to be the best way to implement a GIS.

If his company is selected to set up the GIS, the $3,000 cost of the needs assessment study will be deducted from the proposal's total cost, Hagan said.

The plan calls for the design and implementation of the GIS to be completed over a 24-month time frame with payments spread out over three fiscal years.

Hagan recommended a 30-month contract with the product delivered and billed over 10 fiscal quarters.

Once the GIS is in place, adding layers of information such as drainage districts to the system will be easy, according to Hagan. "Adding layers of information is an ongoing process," he said, as the GIS should be "an ongoing project for the county."

W.R. "Bill" Thompson, county assessor, said he had taken a look at the proposal but "it needs to be gone through thoroughly."

Hagan said the county has two options for selecting a company to develop and implement the GIS.

The first option is to send out requests for proposals to GIS companies and use the standard bidding procedure. He predicted this would result in "a huge range of bid prices because they won't be bidding the same thing."

Hagan recommended instead using qualifications based selection in which requests for qualifications are sent out. He also recommended contacting the companies' previous clients for references.

Hagan said because the conversion of the assessor's parcel data is the part of the project incurring the highest cost, many companies are subcontracting that portion overseas to lower labor costs.

"There is absolutely no quality control," Hagan said regarding the use of overseas subcontractors.

"We will not subcontract any kind of mapping work so we know precisely what's being done and how the quality is," Hagan said.

Hagan recommended officials consider hiring an information technology specialist for the county that could take care of the GIS as well as provide general technical support for Charleston and East Prairie. "The county and the city might share in that person's salary," he suggested.

Hagan said because those with information technology skills are offered so much money in the private sector, "it's very difficult to keep these people."

Midland GIS Solutions is able to provide those services through an annual contract for $15,000, but Hagan said he would prefer to see the county have their own IT specialist.

In other Mississippi County news:

* The Mississippi County Juvenile Detention Center was approved recently for a $5,336.17 Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant through the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

"The grant requires no matching funds at all," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.

As priority was given to rural circuits that showed the most need and had not received prior funding, the juvenile center received approval for the entire amount requested, according to the letter from Becky T. Tinsley, administrator of the juvenile facility.

The fund will be used to purchase educational materials including self-esteem and life skills books; life skills development and interpersonal violence prevention courses; and kits covering similar subjects that include instructor manuals, video tapes, and worksheets.

* Commissioners will begin reviewing road conditions around the county in preparation for the coming blacktopping season.

"We have a lot of roads we need to try to seal," said Blumenberg.

He predicted there won't be enough money to address all the roads they will be called about.

Commissioner Homer Oliver said most of the roads in his part of the county are in pretty good shape and that a good patch and sealing oil will fix most of the problems. He also said there are several fresh blacktop areas which should be sealed

"Spanish Grant is going to have to be addressed," said Blumenberg. "It needs to be widened because there's just too much traffic on it anymore."

He estimated the road needs an additional foot on each side. Commissioners also agreed the road has too steep of a crown.

Laying some snowstone and gravel along the shoulder would help, according to commissioners. "At least have a (road) bed started there," said Blumenberg.

* Gregory B. Spencer was hired Monday to fill the new community gun violence assistant prosecutor position recently created through a grant, according to Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Raffety.

Spencer formerly worked as a public defender and has been working as a full-time assistant prosecutor for Scott County, according to Raffety. "He has significant trial experience."

Spencer will begin May 1.