Technology solves problems

Thursday, October 15, 2009

City worker resignations lead to Marcus City Council decision

With one city worker's resignation accepted and another on the horizon, the Marcus City Council is deciding which route to take in updating a city map which provides information on the location of water and sewer lines. Tim Galles resigned shortly after the September meeting, and the council has been told by another long time city employee that he plans on retiring. Therefore the council feels it is time to update information on new city maps.

With that in mind, the GIS Coordinator for Cherokee County, Curtis Cockburn was invited to the Council meeting to explain what the council could do as far as the level of mapping they could do for the town, training of folks to do the job or the range of costs that could be involved to get it done to the level of expertise that would be needed. Cockburn said that the mapping of sewer and water lines would not be that difficult to do, and one could choose locate it down to within six feet or even down to as close as a centimeter. He demonstrated how you can take a hand-held device by a manhole cover and easily get that information. The project can cost as little or as much as one wanted to get on a city map.

Software could be free if borrowed or could go as high as $1,500. GPS units can be rented or purchased from $80 to $32,000. Consultants also come in a wide range of prices, depending on what the council would have done.

During the council's discussion, councilman Matt Schmillen thought Schmillen's Construction would have a unit the town could use during winter months for little expense, and they would have information on various manholes. There are about 120 manholes in town. That would save the town a considerable amount of money.

All of the council members realize that the town needs an updated map for future use, as well as to keep the map updated for reference. A map could also be used for various needs including emergencies. Further study will be done before a decision is reached. The council had Greg Carver present to help him understand what would be involved.

City attorney Chuck Knudson advised the council of the town's role in a dispute between two neighboring property owners, Floyd Rassel family and Kevin Ott. The dispute keeps escalating over some time about the fence that separates the property. The Rassel family had a fence there but Ott took it down after the property was surveyed and a building permit issued and erected a new fence which was deemed to enhance the site. Since then, another fence is beginning to take shape about a foot from this new fence. The Rassels want to make sure horses and so forth, would stay within the said property.

Knudson is fearful for public safety of the situation if left unchecked and has spoken with both sides. the town is not going to tolerate anymore harrassment. The town needs to make sure all laws are followed. If the two sides still are at odds, they need to pursue it in civil court.

The council also approved and accepted the terms of Randy Weflen resignation. His term of employment is done in October but he will receive three months severence pay plus vacation pay and will be able to receive health insurance as his paying what he has paid until Jan. 1st.

The council noted that Mayor Darrel Downs will be running for mayor for another term, as will Conrad Ebert for a second term on the council. Councilwoman Sheree Ogren has decided not to run for another term and Tony Ross is running for her seat.

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