By Frank Lewis
At Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting, City Manager Derek K. Allen will present council with an agreement that will form a partnership between the city of Portsmouth and Scioto County in the creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS).
In a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information.
The financing agreement calls for the city to commit to $50,000 over two years, with $25,000 due immediately and another $25,000 due on July 1, 2016.
Allen told Portsmouth City Council at a recent meeting the city has a GIS but does not maintain it. He said there had been an internal position that dealt with updating the system but that person was let go in light of the city’s financial straits. He said, counting wages and benefits, the person was costing the city $47,000.
The GIS is expected to have all the infrastructure, water lines, sewer lines and streets and eventually law enforcement.
“At the initiative of the (Southern Ohio) Port Authority (SOPA), in discussing with the county the importance for economic development of having a GIS system that presents a professional appearance online to people looking to establish or move businesses to Scioto County and the inability now to obtain important information led to the county stepping up and deciding it’s time to merge all their different offices into one GIS system,” Allen said at that meeting. “The county decided to have one site with all different offices on the one site and appointed (Scioto County Engineer) Craig Opperman to oversee that.”
Opperman told the Daily Times six entities will be involved – the commissioners, the auditor, the engineer’s office, county sanitary, SOPA, and the city of Portsmouth.
Allen said it makes no sense for the city to maintain a GIS system and the county to have a separate GIS system especially since the city has water lines that run outside the corporation limits that are prime to what’s going on for economic development toward Franklin Furnace and Wheelersburg.
The agreement which expires on July 1, 2017, concludes: “That on or before February 1, 2017, the county will provide a breakdown of costs to maintain the county-wide GIS for the city ande county to use as a basis for negotiating the extension of the agreement beyond July 1, 2015.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.