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Agenda for luncheon is planned

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

BENTON - Disaster preparedness will be the theme of the next Scott County Leadership Luncheon.

County Developer Joel Evans went over an agenda for the upcoming luncheon with county commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Since April 2003, county commissioners have scheduled the leadership luncheons quarterly for officials from the county's cities and school districts to meet and discuss as a group the state of the county and issues which are affect it. The last leadership meeting was in May.

Following the devastation around the Gulf Coast brought by Hurricane Katrina, the same question has been on everybody's mind, according to Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel: "Are we prepared for that big disaster - are we prepared for an earthquake?"

County commissioners are doing their best to think ahead and make what preparations they can for a major disaster in Scott County, Priggel said.

During the leadership meeting, Priggel will discuss how the construction of a bridge over Ramsey Creek and an outer road connecting Scott City with Rural Route AB/Nash Road could end up having a benefit in addition to easing traffic congestion in Scott City at the Interstate 55/Highway 61 interchanges.

The new bridge will be the only bridge crossing Ramsey Creek built to withstand seismic activity and could possibly end up being the only route north to survive a major earthquake.

Commissioner Jamie Burger will discuss the imminent move of the county's E-911 dispatching center to the Scott County Communication Center at the Scott County Jail.

Evans will discuss Community Emergency Response Team training which prepares lay people to respond to a variety of disasters so they can assist when professional responders are overwhelmed by catastrophes.

The county's Emergency Management has been approved for a $4,000 Homeland Security grant to set up CERTs and train them.

"I think it's a good program," Evans said.

In other business Tuesday:

* County Assessor Teresa Houchin has advised commissioners that Midland GIS, the vendor for the county's geographic information system, will deliver map data conversions for information overlays.

The GIS allows the county's data to be viewed graphically and manipulated over aerial photography maps using computers.

The basic package to be delivered includes county boundaries, quarter sections and a map index as part of the base and over 30 information layers such as city limits, drainage and floodways, easements, political townships, railroad and road centerlines and school districts.

"It is still moving forward," Burger said of the county's GIS.

* A National Incident Management System training course for county officials will be from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Scott County E-911 Center at Morley, according to Evans.

NIMS is being established nationally as a standardized emergency response protocol. Whether or not county officials complete a NIMS course may affect the county's future applications for emergency-type grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the State Emergency Management Agency.

* "The Web site usage continues to be high," Evans reported.

He said even if the site gets no additional views this month, it is already the third highest month ever.

"People are looking at it and they're starting to send information and updates," Evans said.

* Burger suggested pouring a concrete pad at the county highway department shed to use as a place to wash and steam clean the county's vehicles and heavy equipment and "kind of contain the runoff."

* Evans briefed commissioners on various grants the county hopes to apply for soon.

An announcement on when applications can be filed for a historic preservation grant which could be used to replace the courthouse's windows is very close, according to Evans.

There is still no word on the next round of Homeland Security grants, he said.

Evans said the county can apply this spring for a local records preservation grant requested by the county prosecutor to digitize records.

The system may possibly work for the circuit clerk's office, Evans added.

Burger recalled the circuit clerk requesting an enhanced filing system.

* Evans said he has received a request from Morley city officials for economic development help.