Quorum Court approves grant for county GIS mapping system

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

As had been pattern in recent months, a short agenda greeted the justices of the Poinsett County Quorum Court in their regularly scheduled Monday meeting. Prior to the call to order of the regular session, the personnel committee met to go over the candidates for a veteran officer for the county. Justice Smith, chairman of the committee, presented the name of Jerry Long for County Judge Doyle Hillis to interview.

"We were fortunate in that we had four good candidates," Justice Smith said in making the recommendation.

Judge Hillis said he would get with Long and arrange for an interview as soon as possible.

The only other scheduled business was brought by Poinsett County Tax

Accessor, Johnny Rye, Jr.

"We started trying about a year ago to begin the process for the implementation of a GIS system," Rye said after passing out an Arkansas Road Centerline File Grant application package. "What this is basically is for a centerline grant."

According to the information in the package, the Arkansas Centerline File (ACF) Program is a "Geographic Information System data set that contains road networks, road name and address range information and various other elements to enable address matching and geocoding."

The package went on to say that the "ACF program is designed to compile a standardized statewide road centerline GIS map data layer that can be used by all levels of government, the private sector and individuals."

Justice Mary Ann Arnold asked Rye to explain what a centerline was.

"For a map to be accurate every road has to be put on the map," Rye said. "The centerline of the road is the most accurate reference point."

The grant was funded by Act 1800 of the Arkansas General Assembly which appropriated $750,000 for the program. Poinsett County's grant amount is $28,698 based on 1594 total county miles and a per mile rate of $18.

"Poinsett County will probably be the first county in north east Arkansas to receive the grant," Rye added. "But, what we have to do is make a resolution about it."

Previously prepared Resolution 2005-05, sponsored by Justice

Elizabeth Schwartz, was read by County Clerk Fonda Condra and accepted by the Court as read.

Other business addressed by the Court included:

*Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Merle Williams showed the court a brochure which had been sent to different news outlets showing the different things needed for a family to be prepared in the event of a disaster.

*Judge Hillis responded to a question about the timing of the new county budget and said the budget should be ready by the November meeting of the Court.

*The question arose once again about payment for Judge Inboden, specifically concerning his health insurance. Clerk Fondra said the insurance for Inboden would be available without a waiting period because he had not been eligible during the normal open enrollment time.

Hillis fielded a number of questions with regard to Inboden's pay and had to reiterate as he had in meetings before that according to the Arkansas Attorney General, it was unlawful for cities within a county to let a county pay a judge such as Inboden and then reimburse the County for the costs. "The thing about it is the judge is a city employee," Hillis said. "He's elected by the county, but he holds courts in the cities of the county."

Hillis also pointed out that the insurance plans of the city governments of the county was less expensive than the county plan.

"We're still waiting on the final opinion of the Attorney General," Hillis concluded. "Once we get that, we'll know what we can do."

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