BENTON - Scott County was approved for $21,500 in grant funding and plans to apply for another $200,000 soon.
The $21,500 grant to develop and promote a county Web site was originally applied for through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development division, according to Jim Schwaninger, county economic developer, and will require $6,150 in local matching funds.
Funding was actually approved through the Delta Regional Authority, however, on the recommendation of Greg Branum, state director for Rural Development, Schwaninger explained during the regular Scott County Commission meeting Tuesday.
"The intention of the Web site is to provide a county information base where prospective businesses and residents can go to for information about Scott County," Schwaninger said. "This will be a model to be used by other counties in the Delta Region."
Plans are for the Web site to have links to Scott County communities, school districts and realtors' in addition to including pages with information about county offices and services.
A link to the Missouri Department of Economic Development's "Location One" database, which lists available commercial and industrial properties in the state, will also be included.
"In addition, the grant will allow us money to promote the Web site through billboards that say Scott County is a great place to live, work and do business," Schwaninger added.
While applications are not being accepted yet for homeland security grants, they will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Don Hagan, consultant for Midland GIS Solutions of Sunrise Beach.
"So we want to be ready," said Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel. "We know we'll apply for this homeland security grant."
Applications will go through the State Emergency Management Agency, Hagan said. He advised commissioners should request at least $200,000 to implement a geographic information system. "Now is the time to put cost estimates together," he said.
County officials noted some of the preliminary steps - such as filling out an extremely lengthy questionnaire -was already completed by county officials.
Hagan said homeland security funding can be used for things like fire equipment, police cars, gas masks, protective suits for bioterrorism threats, training and recent digital aerial photography - which the county does not have - to base infrastructure information on.
Midland GIS Solutions has already completed setting up a system for New Madrid County, are expected to finish up Mississippi County's GIS this week, and are scheduled to put in a system for Pemiscot County beginning in the fourth quarter so they can spread their $126,000 cost over four fiscal years, according to Hagan.
Hagan said his company is also finishing Cape Girardeau County's system as its original GIS company went out of business.
The cost of aerial photography, which is required as base for the GIS, will be roughly around $40,000, Hagan said, with an additional $5,000 if they want it shot in color. "Aerial photograph used to be much, much higher," he said.
Hagan emphasized that it is not an assessor's program, but a "county program" and advised county officials not to list replacing lost assessor funds on the application as a reason for the funding request. "This grant is to enable you to implement the technology necessary to manage critical infrastructure resources," Hagan said.
Asked for a price per parcel, Hagan said it should run somewhere around $6.50 to $6.75. "It's hard to put a per parcel price on a geographic information system," Hagan said. "There are several things that factor into it."
The county will also need to have a needs assessment. "That's the critical first step," Hagan said. The cost for a needs assessment is $4,000 but that cost will be deducted from the total cost of the GIS system if his company puts it in, he said.
"It will help enhance the image of the county as being progressive," Hagan said. "The time is now."
In other Scott County business, commissioners noted the 2004 annual county Industrial Development Authority board meeting is scheduled for noon March 18 at the County Seat Cafe's meeting room in Benton.