Assessor requests mapping system
FAIRFIELD — Jefferson County Assessor Sheri Blough outlined her request for a Geographic Information System program Friday to the Conference Board and received approval of the assessor’s office annual budget that includes the cost for GIS.
For the second time last week, Blough described the 3-D pictometry system that would be useful for parcel and boundary measurements as well providing aerial views of buildings from more than the roof angle.
Blough had asked on Jan. 28 at the board of supervisors meeting for support to purchase a GIS system, at a total cost of $59,948, to be shared by the city. The cost would be broken down into three payments due in July; June 2014; and July 2015. The amount also includes the cost of a flyover to take photos of Jefferson County.
Blough said her office uses Sidwell mapping company of Chicago to schedule flights over the county for updated aerial photos every three years.
“The mapping is digitalized and on our Web site,” said Blough.
The last flight cost $65,000, but now has decreased to $61,000, she said.
“I’ve asked to have a GIS system before, but this is the first time I’ve had a partner,” said Blough.
Kevin Flanagan, Fairfield city administrator, has said the city is interested in having a GIS program, too.
Each Jefferson County Department presents its budget to the board of supervisors, in January and February.
“We have to have all department budgets by Feb. 19,” said supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt.
The county budget will be published as a legal notice in The Ledger prior to a March 1 public hearing, said Blough.
Blough reviewed revenues and expenditures for the past three years in the assessor’s office at Friday’s meeting.
“Permits for new residential construction were down,” she said. “New businesses are expanding on the west side of Fairfield, but we still have many empty offices downtown.”
Jefferson County’s assessed valuation in 2012 was $1.08 billion, and taxable valuation after state rollbacks/deductions was $6.99 million.
In 2011, the county’s assessed valuation was $1.07 billion, and taxable valuation was $670 million.
Five years ago, in 2008, the county’s assessed valuation was $871 million and taxable valuation was $583 million. It was in 2009 that the assessed valuation jumped up the billion mark, at $1 billion.
Supervisors were called on to justify a recommendation for a 4 percent wage increase for county employees.
“The Compensation Board meets to suggest a recommendation each year about county employees’ compensation,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “It recommended a 5 percent increase for the county attorney [Tim Dille] and a 4 percent increase for elected officials who are department heads, not the board of supervisors.”
Reed said the theory for several years has been if department heads get a raise, smaller percent raises trickle down to staff in their departments.
“We want to create some stability out of this,” he said. “We used the 4 percent figure to plug into our budget calculations and 2.5 percent for all others.
“Then we talked with a few departments, and department heads are struggling in treating their employees differently than themselves. It was little talked about, but American workers took a 2.5 percent hit [increase] in FICA on their paychecks when the new year started.
“So we thought, this could be the year to equalize wages, and we will be making a decision, but have not made it yet,” said Reed. “If we approve a wage lower than the Compensation Board recommends, we have to lower it by a percentage.”
Reed said the union (decertified Jan. 28) for county jail staff cost the county, “more money than you can believe.”
Reed said to hire a union negotiator cost $50,000 to $60,000.
“I’d like to see everyone in the county treated fairly,” said Reed. “We’ll finalize the budget in less than a month.”
Jefferson County Conference Board consists of:
• Jefferson County supervisors, Dimmitt, Becky Schmitz and Reed.
• Mayors of incorporated county towns — Randy Major of Batavia, Ed Malloy of Fairfield, Kenneth McCarty of Lockridge and Brad Lauderman of Pleasant Plain attended Friday’s meeting. Libertyville’s pro-term Mayor Rodney Nelson and Maharishi Vedic City’s Mayor Robert Wynne were absent.
• Fairfield Community School District board member, Jerry Nelson.
• Pekin Community School District board member Jennifer Coleman, who participated Friday by teleconference.