CHARLESTON - Mississippi County officials hope to build on the county's geographical information system with funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Mississippi County commissioners discussed the grant application during their regular meeting Thursday.
"Midland GIS prepared the application," County Clerk Junior DeLay said.
DeLay said the county health department originally wanted to apply but Don Hagan, GIS consultant for Midland GIS Solutions of Sunrise Beach, advised the county should be listed as the applicant.
The total for the three-year grant should run between $400,000 and $500,000. Some of the money would be used to hire an information technology specialist for the county with an annual salary of about $40,000.
If approved, the grant will fully fund the IT position in the first year, pay 75 percent in the second year, and half in the third year after which the county will be responsible for the entire salary.
The rest of the money would be used for additional hardware and software and to develop information to enhance the county's ability to respond to health care issues.
Commissioners agreed the courthouse could make good use of a full-time IT person. "Everything now is computer based," said DeLay.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said the GIS is for use by other offices in addition to the assessor's office, which is why the Commission approved using money from the general fund to help pay for the GIS base map project.
DeLay said the GIS was intended to be "an investment in Mississippi County's technological future."
The Missouri Foundation for Health is the state's largest not-for-profit health foundation. The foundation was formed following a lawsuit by the state of Missouri against Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In other county business:
* About nine miles of chip-and-seal blacktop has been laid by the county so far, with road and bridge crews trying the surface on several different types of roads. Lucas said crews stopped trying to use chat and are now using pea gravel.
"Right now we've been really satisfied," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.
Only time will tell how the roads hold up. "It could be very successful or be a disaster," Blumenberg said. "If it works it will be a life saver."
"We're not in too bad of shape on roads," Blumenberg added.
* A SpeakOut caller who referred to problems on County Road 536 needs to check the location, according to commissioners. "We don't have a 536 road in Mississippi County," Blumenberg said.
* Commissioners will begin meeting at 8:30 a.m. to allow time to scrutinize bills before moving on to other business at 9 a.m.
Blumenberg also said he wants a printout of each payroll from now on: "I want to see who is paid what."
Commissioners noted, for example, that unapproved items have been added to purchase orders.
* Commissioner Homer Oliver said the beaver trapper told him that while he is scared of snakes, it won't stop him from trapping beavers in county ditches.
* Having recently purchased vehicles for the sheriff's department, commissioners agreed two vehicles need to be rotated out from the fleet and sold off. They discussed having the cars detailed and removing the sheriff's department logos. "We'll clean them up and park them," Blumenberg said.
* Blumenberg justified the county laying down gravel for residential areas by comparing how much property tax is generated by homes as opposed to a field.
DeLay said a $120,000 home is the same value as 40 acres.
"It's worth the gravel," Lucas agreed.
"It really helps the school district," said Blumenberg.