Council tables action on GIS, GPS proposal

ST. PARIS – Village council tabled action to move forward on a proposal to improve the village’s mapping technology during Monday’s regular meeting.

Village Administrator Joe Sampson told council he was contacted by the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) about an opportunity to provide GPS for the entire village.

With the proposal, Sampson said RCAP has gone to Honda and applied for a 50 percent grant through them.

“They came to us and found out how many water shutoffs we have, how many valves we have, how many sewer manholes we have, how many hydrants and watch valves, how many catch basins,” Sampson said. “They will come in and they will GPS every bit of that stuff if the grant goes through and it’s about an $18,000 cost of which half will be paid by grant.

“We won’t be required to buy the software; they will maintain the software and maintain the mechanics of it as we put something new on it we feed that information in to them or if we get something done with the engineer’s office we can get that information back out of them. They charge around $3,000 a year to maintain all those maps in that GIS and GPS.”

Sampson said the village needed to pass a resolution in order for RCAP to apply for the grant.

Speaking on the advantages of moving to this technology, Sampson said village employees would be able to find items quickly.

“They not only have a location, but just by using your smartphone you can go out and find within a close proximity of exactly where that particular catch basin, that water valve, that hydrant valve,” Sampson said. “Once that’s GPS and it’s when we go to do a project in town and the engineers come in and they want to know where this is and that is, all those GPS coordinates are done, all those valves they know exactly where they’re at so a portion of that engineering is finished.”

“So on a large scale project, let’s just say we were going to do one road from the east side to the west side. This would benefit to save us on the engineering costs,” Mayor Joe Reneer asked.

“Yes absolutely,” Sampson said.

When asked for his opinion on the proposal, Reneer said he and Sampson have spoken about different things they want to implement in the future. Something Reneer referenced wanting to implement is having water meters that could send information to the village on how much water is being used at a residence.

“It pops up and it says ‘generally this house uses 500 gallons a day and over the weekend they used 1,500,’” Reneer said as an example. “Joe then gets on the phone or goes and knocks on the door ‘hey we got a red flag on the computer on your water meter … did you guys do anything special over the weekend you used three times your normal usage.’ ‘Yeah I pressure washed my fence, my house, my RV and everything’ or they could say ‘no I didn’t do anything’ and we need to start looking for a leak.

“Now we just caught it possibly in two days, three days compared to 30 days. That’s where I’d like to take this and I see this a potential step. I see this as a time saver towards the employees, towards engineering.”

Council member Tyler Adkins expressed concern over how the addition of the mapping technology would impact the village financially.

“We have a full general map of all the water lines and all of that,” Adkins said. “Right now we have a police levy that we don’t know if it’s going to pass, we’ve got property out here that now we’ve got to maintain that we don’t have money to maintain. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but right now this village can’t afford it.”

After some more discussion, council moved to table taking action on the proposal by a vote of 4-1 with Adkins opposing this motion. Council member Jana Crawford was not at the meeting.

Trick or Treat followup

During the mayor’s note portion of the meeting, Reneer commented on the success of the village’s Trick-or-Treat festivities on Oct. 29.

“I had a lot of individuals who said ‘thank you’ who were happy we did it on Saturday,” Reneer said. “Also the stuff that was set up downtown went very well. That was very nice and I heard a lot of compliments about that.”

Council member Dave Palmer said the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and St. Paris Police Department participated in a Trunk or Treat event. He noted residents in five vehicles also participated in the event.

“We’ll address the issue next year, but I’m thinking I want to keep (Trick or Treat) on the last Saturday of October,” Reneer said. “I was pretty happy with the success of it and also community organizations would have a better opportunity to set something up especially if they have more notice and on a Saturday they can get more volunteers, more individuals who want to help.”

Reneer also reminded residents Christmas in the Village will take place on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year’s festivities will include Santa Claus arriving by fire truck at 1 p.m., a craft show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., sleigh rides from 4 to 6 p.m. and a live Nativity Scene at Wooten’s lot.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.