Schoolcraft County awards mapping system bid

MANISTIQUE — Emergency services and burials were on the agenda at Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Schoolcraft County Commission.

Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing proposals for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping in the county. GIS mapping is a system designed to store, manipulate and analyze geographic data. The data is used in services such as 911 emergency call systems. The county received two proposals — one from the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD) for $93,000, and another from Coleman Engineering for $80,000. Commissioner Craig Reiter moved to accept the CUPPAD proposal, saying it was more budget friendly in the long run. “It’s far easier and more cost efficient to update with the CUPPAD program.”

He added CUPPAD would also let the county pay for the project over three years.

Commissioner Chris Rantanen raised concerns regarding the county receiving a bill for $9,000 for CUPPAD dues. When the county objected, CUPPAD reduced the dues to $4,500, which had been the rate for many years.

“It just looks fishy,” she said. “Are they giving us a break on the dues to get our business?”

“They had a dues structure of one price for every county, so we had to pay as much as Marquette. But they are now charging smaller counties less,” said Board Chair Larry Mersnick.

Further complicating the issue, neither CUPPAD or Coleman were able to send representatives to the meeting due to poor weather conditions.

After further discussion, the board voted unanimously to give CUPPAD the contract. “We need to move on this. It’s about serving the people of our county. When they have an emergency, they want to know that 911 will be able to direct the ambulance to the correct address,” Mersnick said.

“Negaunee has been using Google Maps, which has led to many problems with emergency calls. The new GIS system will be spot-on, making all addresses nearly perfect,” Reiter added.

It is an allowable expense for 911 grant funds.

In other business, the board received word the state requires the county to pay $300 for veteran burials from its general fund. The county had been taking the monies from its veteran’s millage funds. The board voted to reimburse the VA fund $1,200, retroactive to Oct. 1. County Treasurer Julie Roscioli reported the county pays about $8,000 annually for veteran burials.

In other action, the board renewed its contract with Peterson Surveying of Escanaba for surveying remonumentation of the county. The company has worked with the county for several years “and he’ll be with us for several more,” Roscioli said. “He does 75 to 80 corners a year and there are 2,000 more to go.” It also accepted a grant of $87,000 for survey and remonumentation.

The board also approved renewing the appointment of Gloria Hansen, of Gulliver, on the HUD Housing Commission and reimbursing the County Medical Care Facility $33,215.78 for facility maintenance projects. It also set Jan. 17 as the start date for Rachel Ryan, who will be working with the Equalization and Building Permits offices.