County opts not to ask cities, lake developments to share mapping costs

Updated: Mar 10

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Jan. 31, GIS/Mapping Department Director Pam Cannon met with the Linn County Commissioners for approval of a resolution to charge fees to cities and lake developments for access to the secure Portal and Connect Explorer in the Geographic Information System (GIS) department.

Cannon reminded the commissioners that when she came in last spring to get permission for the new aerial photography, the Connect Explorer, they had asked her to figure out a cost to charge the cities and lake developments to offset the cost of the new program.

She said that by using the program, they could access the new Connect Explorer, and also the county's secure Portal, which is basically online mapping. They would be able to access the maps for their town or lake development on the Internet, including any layers she had worked with them on creating, whether it be their specific zoning or whatever, it would include that too.

“It’s just kind of their own GIS through the county, and so we want to determine a cost for them,” said Cannon.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson asked what other counties do about this.

Cannon answered that Linn County was pretty unique in our size county, the other counties our size do not have all that we have.

Cannon said she approached the cost by population and not by parcels, because the lake developments have a lot of parcels but not that much population.

Commissioner Rick James asked if the county charged the cities and lake developments now. Cannon said the cities were able to use the county online map that has just the parcels, but it doesn’t have any of their utility zoning or other options.

James said, “So you are suggesting that we charge the cities?”

Cannon replied that considering the cost for aerial photography as well software costs, it’s costing the county around $50,000 a year.

James asked if the cities need that information. He suggested that the cities might not need to participate, but the county could just establish a cost if they want to participate.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that most of the cities use the public access to the system which is not as specific.

Cannon told the commissioners that this gives the cities the ability to look up more information. Parker is wanting to use it, and is just waiting for the cost.

La Cygne is using the system to show the parcel lines to engineers, and after they complete their project at La Cygne, Cannon will enter that on the maps.

Cannon said she was thinking that the cost could be $500 per year for cities with populations of 600 and under, and for cities with more than 600 residents it would be $1,000 per year.

Commissioner Danny McCullough said that he did not think that was unreasonable at all.

Cannon said it would not cost the county anything, and it would help the county pay for what they are already doing. If the cities opted into this they would have all the information on where sewer lines are, the zoning and whatever information the county has available.

James said that he did not even know why they had to charge the cities. Cannon said she did do specific work for them sometimes.

Cannon told commissioners that the decision was up to them. She pointed out that they were the ones who asked earlier in the year if the cities could pay for using the system.

McCullough made a motion to approve the resolution, but it died for the lack of a second.

City residents pay taxes like everybody else, said James. He said he did not know why they county would charge the cities for only about $6,000 a year, and he would rather help the cities and be beneficial to them.

McCullough said it was the same concept as charging the schools for the School Resource Officer program.

Cannon said she did not care one way or the other but last spring, the commissioners did not want a price increase, and asked her if the cities could help with it.

Rick James made a motion to let the cities use the program at no cost, it passed 2 to 1, with McCullough voting no.

That’s very generous of you, said Cannon.

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