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Assessor gives cataloging update

Legal fees, aerial mapping and offering a house for sale were among the actions taken by justices of the peace during the June 20 Lonoke County Quorum Court meeting.

County judge Doug Erwin and Justices of the Peace Brent Canon, Mike Dolan, Charles Evans, Henry Lang, Tim Lemons, Lee Linville, Roger Lynch, Larry Odom, Bill Ryker, Adam Sims, Darrin Waymack and Barry Weathers attended the meeting.

Assessor Jack McNally explained details and progress on the cataloging of county properties. “We are moving right along with the GIS and mapping project,” he said.

His office is now at the point at which aerial mapping of the county is the next step to take, McNally said. There are two “really well-qualified” companies that are interested in a contract to do the work, he said.

McNally asked that a committee be appointed to consider the best company and approach to use. Or, the quorum court could choose to “sit here for the next three hours” discussing the subject, he said.

A flyover will add another layer to the geographic information system (GIS), McNally said. A GIS map organizes and links geographically referenced information for management and analysis. Each “layer” in a GIS catalogue provides more interlinked details.

GIS maps in other counties have been used to reduce 911 response time, for bridge planning, municipal zoning, setting boundaries for fire coverage, school zoning and many other needs, McNally said. If the floor plans for buildings, such as schools, are available those can be “laid in” on the county GIS, he said.

A flyover would also show growth areas and other factors in economic development, McNally said. Keeping such information current is important for businesses considering a move into an area or for startups, McNally said. The recent choice to place a steel mill in the state was heavily influenced by having current GIS figures available, he said.

While the assessor’s office does not need all the information, it would be made available to agencies, such as the sheriff’s office, circuit clerk, “Just anybody,” McNally said.

Cost of the flyover ranges from $45,000 to $90,000, depending on the information to be managed, McNally said.

Erwin appointed Lemons, Ryker, Dolan and Waymack to the committee.

In other matters, JPs approved the sale of one of the houses on property owned by the county along Fourth Street, one block east of the courthouse. Erwin explained that the county now owns all three properties on the block, and that two of the houses are to be torn down.

However, Erwin said he believes the house between the two could be sold on condition that it is moved off the lot. “It is movable … we could take bids on it,” he said.

Sims said the Beaver Control Committee has developed several recommendations for consideration by Erwin. Recommendations included creating an ordinance making it illegal to present beavers killed in other counties for the bounty offered in Lonoke County. If approved, violators could be fined up to $1,000.

Action on the ordinance was tabled to the July 18 quorum court meeting.

The committee further recommended using a geo-tagging system to verify where beavers were taken, and to increase the bounty offered during summer months.

During the May quorum court meeting Sims asked for the summer bounty to be increased to encourage taking of beavers throughout the year.

Otherwise, headway in reducing the beaver population during cooler months was lost, Sims said.

In other remarks, Sims has noted that paying the bounty costs the county less than repairing flood damage to roads brought on from steams dammed by beavers.

JPs also approved an appropriation to pay legal costs incurred in court and legal actions involving the county during 2012. The costs were incurred in advisements during questions on the county voluntary tax - $500, and representation during lawsuits brought by the City of Lonoke in the dispute over district court fees, $4,574.62, and by an employee in the circuit clerk’s office concerning compensatory time, $4,315.

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