The Phelps County Emergency Services Board (PCESB) has agreed to contribute up to $60,000 toward the pictometry system, which will provide updated aerial images of the county.
At the board’s meeting Dec. 13, the members present agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the county and City of Rolla for the system. Board members Pam Grow, Larry Seest and Steve Zap all were absent.
As of Monday afternoon, Rolla city officials had made no decision to enter into the agreement, but a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement with Phelps County for pictometry imaging services was on Monday night’s council agenda.
The Phelps County Commission is expected to act on a contract with Pictometry International Corp., at its Dec. 27 meeting.
County Assessor Bill Wiggins said the contract would be for six years and would include three flyovers of the entire county that would take ortho images, which shoot straight down, and oblique images, which are taken at a 45-degree angle. The flights would take place in reassessment years, which are odd-numbered years, starting in 2013.
Wiggins said the contract allows those involved the opportunity to cancel the second and third flights at no cost if they don’t feel the flyovers are needed.
J. Kent Robinson, counsel to the PCESB, advised that the agreement should include language that gives all three entities enough time to know if one or more of them want to drop out of the second or third flights.
PCESB member Stoney Byrne said he wanted to make sure the board has the chance to opt out.
Wiggins explained that the county and Rolla combined their projects “so that neither entity is paying for something that the other entity is already paying for ... There is some overlap, but we’ve halved it where there is an overlap. The county gets what they are wanting and Rolla gets what they’re wanting and we’re all paying exactly for what we’re getting.”
Wiggins gave the PCESB a breakdown of costs that each entity would pay.
The PCESB would pay $10,000 each year for six years under the proposed payment schedule, assuming that the City of Rolla and Phelps County also pay their shares.
Wiggins listed the city’s share as $39,609.50 upon council approval and the county’s share — which would be divided among the assessor’s office ($72,976.50), sheriff’s office ($72,976.50), prosecutor’s office ($10,000), and collector’s office ($450), upon county approval, for a grand total among all entities being $256,012.50.
“This is the projection if everybody is playing,” said PCESB Chair Paul Rueff.
During the discussion, Wiggins told the board that “it’s more expensive with another provider just to get the ortho (images),” adding that aerial images of the county have not been taken since about 2007.
Page 2 of 3 - Wiggins said he got a quote in 2011 from a company to conduct one flyover of the county for about $60,000 at that time, but funds were never approved.
Robinson noted that the PCESB inherited a mapping contract from the county before the PCESB was formed and there is a provision in that contract and “what it says is that we pay X number of dollars plus one-half of any mapping fees incurred by the assessor’s office in updating their mapping.” The assessor’s office would pay the other half.
PCESB member Carl Collet said with pictometry, the county would get three flyovers and as long as the board has an opt out, he favors the proposal from Pictometry.
PCESB Treasurer Buz Harvey said under the inherited contract, it would cost the board about $30,000 for one flyover but with pictometry, it would cost the board $20,000 for the first flight and $20,000 for each additional flight if the board chooses to stay on.
While Harvey said pictometry is not in the board’s budget for next year, “that’s not a problem because I’ve said many times, it (the budget) is not a set a handcuffs. It appears to me that if we are substituting a new system that is maybe arguably better than the old system. Then going forward, it’s going to cost us $10,000 a year versus $15,000 a year.
“$10,000 is not consequential. I can revise the budget. It’s not a problem,” Harvey added. “My conscience says it’s a better deal for everyone in Phelps County ... It’s not an irresponsible expenditure of funds ... Do we have the money for it? Yes, we have the money for it.”
Wiggins said if the PCESB did not contribute, the board’s share would come out of the assessor’s or sheriff’s budget.
Byrne noted that the quote of $60,000 could have gone up since 2011, too.
“But to speak from a practical business point of view, we’re not deciding for his (Wiggins’) benefit,” Rueff said.
Chair shares concerns
At one point in the discussion, Rueff said, “We’ve had the sales pitch … We understand the importance of this in a variety of areas. Now I’m going to move onto another topic related to this.”
Rueff told the board that he talked with a representative from Archonix, which is working with the board on a new records management and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.
“I asked him what would it take ... so that (pictometry) would work within his system (Archonix) and he said he’d have to write a program for that,” Rueff said, adding that the program was estimated to cost about $5,000 to $15,000.
Page 3 of 3 - Wiggins said without any new program, the pictometry and Archonix systems can be used as two standalone programs.
At one point, Byrne started to make a motion, but Rueff cut him off and said, “I’m not ready for a motion.
“My thoughts are yes, this program will have benefits to the operators downstairs (dispatchers) and that’s my focus — to make their life as pleasant as possible, as efficient as possible and to take care of the guys on the street – fire, EMS or police,” Rueff said. “My reservation lies in that this topic came up less than 60 days ago and we’ve not had a lot of discussion around this table. We discussed it very briefly last board meeting and now I feel the expectation is that we are to act on it tonight.”
Wiggins said, “The one thing that I would stress is the reason I got into looking at this product at all is that we need to upgrade our aerial photography. Everything else is a bonus.”
Rueff replied, “I understand that. What I’m getting at, and at this point, I’m not interested in irritating you but this board has not decided what it’s going to do in regard to using it or not using. It’s only fair that they have the opportunity to think about all these facts and consider the things. I think the sales is over. Now it’s time for us to talk about it.”
“I know it feels like you’re getting pressured into it and it’s all coming up real fast,” Wiggins said, but noted that he wants Phelps County to be included on the flight schedule next year, which is a reassessment year.
The flight is scheduled to taken sometime between January and March and Wiggins said there are about 40 other counties in Missouri that will have flyovers.
Communications Chief Paula Volkmer said she believes pictometry would benefit the dispatchers who would be able to give more details to responders out in the field, noting that currently, dispatchers are basically looking at a flat map.
“With this imagery, we have a firefighter who knows where the doors are. We got cops out there who know where the windows are. We might save a life,” Byrne added.