County Commission to consider ‘un-freezing’ three vacant positions Tuesday

Last updated: August 04. 2014 11:31AM -
By - mstrother@civitasmedia.com

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The county has launched a website about the Salem Road bridge project containing more than 100 photographs plus video and articles about the history of the bridge.

The road to the bridge over Flat Shoals Creek will close Thursday morning as the project to replace it begins. The website contains information about the replacement plans and designs for the new bridge compared to the old, along with the historical information.

“I thought about it; over the years I’ve collected so much historical information about this bridge, historical photos and there’s so many people in the community that are interested in it, I’d like them to have access to that information,” said County Engineer James Emery during a County Commission work session Friday.

The page went live Friday and may be accessed at www.troupcountyga.org/salemrdbridge.html .

In other business, County Commission on Tuesday will consider lifting its hiring freeze to fill three vacant positions. Although the positions are budgeted, the county’s hiring freeze calls for the commission to approve any hiring. One of the requests is for an open GIS technician position.

The GIS – Geographic Information Database – department currently has 1,300 request with a backlog of about 440, said Shondra Hogan, GIS department head. The department is in charge of upkeep of information to the GIS mapping system available to the public, county offices and companies to provide geographic information of Troup County, including aerial photos.

The tax assessors office, 911 and outside groups like telephone companies or potential builders use the maps. When they find an inconsistency in the program, or want help in more customized service, they come to the GIS department.

One example Hogan gave of departments’ requests include the fire department asking for maps to show locations of all fire hydrants in the county to be assess areas’ needs. That will require consistent updates as the layout is changed to keep the information current.

Problems that come to the GIS department often stem from something like a street that is incorrectly named in the system, which can be just a misspelling or an outdated name. Hogan said researching the physical records of one street that is mislabeled in the system can take about four hours.

Commissioner Morris Jones asked why the process takes so long. Hogan said if the database has an incorrect name, then she has to search through physical records to find out if it is a simple misspelling, or if the street name was changed at some point and not updated in the database in order to submit the reason for the inconsistency with a third-party group, like the telephone company.

“We have to go through every avenue to examine to tell our third person provider why it should be spelled differently,” Hogan said.

Hogan said a needs assessment with the different departments will tell the department what areas it needs to look at first and what it lacks that needs to be added or enforced. The GIS technician will help her in the process and for a three-year strategic action plan to implement changes.

“It’s a lot for one person to deal with,” Hogan said.

The proposed pay for the technician is $13.07 per hour.

In another matter, Parks and Recreation Director Don Howell also asked to lift the freeze to fill a seasonal parks and recreation worker and full-time maintenance worker. The maintenance position is $9.63 per hour and the seasonal position, which ends in October, is $7.75 per hour.

Also on Tuesday, commission is set to vote on approval of a bid for work on a splash park for Hogansville. Aqua Dynamics of Jonesboro had a bid of $370,000 for the special-purpose, local-option sales tax-funded project, which a committee for the park recommends.

Howell said the time it will take to order the parts for manufacturing in Canada, receive and set them up will likely be too late for the summer season, but the park will be ready for spring.

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