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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

La Cygne begins lead pipe survey, considers utility and cemetery mapping systems

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

By Roger Sims,

LA CYGNE – The city of La Cygne this week began collecting information on water lines running into businesses and residents’ homes as part of a push by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to determine how many lead and copper lines are in use.

As part of that effort, the council approved a request by public works Superintendent Dan Nasalroad to spend nearly $4,900 on a equipment and software from Olathe-based Subsurface Solutions that will be used to notate survey results as well as keep track of future water, sewer or gas utility work being done on individual properties.

The landlord is responsible for filling out the survey in the case of a rental property.

Here is a link to the city’s webpage on the survey, which also provides a link to an online survey:

The new program will use global positioning system (GPS) or geographic information systems (GIS) data to pinpoint locations of meters and other city utilities.

City Clerk Jodi Wade said that city workers will rely on survey results for the lead and copper information. However, for those who aren’t sure what kind of water supply lines they have, workers can, with property owner’s permission, enter those properties to inspect lines coming into the house.

If the survey is not completed or the inspection option is not available, crews will be forced to dig a hole deep enough to inspect the line.

The council also viewed a video and discussed a proposal to purchase Chronicle Cemetery software that would use GIS to create an interactive digital map of Oaklawn Cemetery that would be accessible on a mobile device or computer.

Councilman David Breneman, a member of the city’s cemetery board said he had come across the company in his research on online systems.

In addition to creating map and locator for grave sites, the software could be used to provide background information, including photos and obituary information, on individuals buried there.

While part of the concern was about the cost of the program – $15,000 for 20 years – another concern was adding another system to the city’s data base to manage.

Wade said that applications the city is already using is in the beginning of GIS, which could lead to development of information that could become a duplication of the system Brenneman proposed to buy. However, it is likely that data entered on one system might not be easily transferred to another.

Wade also said that Pam Cannon with the Linn County GIS/Mapping department had already begun entering information on the cemetery, but that information wasn’t available to the public.

One advantage, Brenneman pointed out, is that using the system, people could access information on their mobile devices while they were in the cemetery.

Councilman Thomas Capp suggested that there wasn’t much support in the community for the city to spend $15,000 on the application.

However, Councilman Jerome Mitzner said that other related businesses and community members might be interested in looking at helping with the purchase.

Councilman Keith Stoker took that idea even further, suggesting that the city conduct a workshop that would include Schneider Funeral Home, the city’s historical society, the cemetery board and the genealogical group from the La Cygne Library.

It was pointed out that the informational board recently installed at the cemetery had a price tag of just over $7,000.

Brenneman along with the other cemetery committee member Councilman Danny Curtis, did considerable amount of work on getting that board up. But as Brenneman pointed out, the board would need to be updated manually.

As grave sites were sold and burial plots were used, the computer software would be up to date as soon as the information was entered.

Wade threw one last equation into the discussion. She pointed out that the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in the near future could also impact any consideration of a system purchase.

“A lot of conversation needs to take place,” said Stoker as the commission moved on to other business.

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