Summit County will merge its four Geographic Information Systems (GIS) departments — a move that county leaders say will save about $180,000 a year.
County Council on Monday signed off on legislation allowing the consolidation.
The separate departments — which analyze and produce geographic data — will merge into a single Division of Planning and Geographic Information Systems under the county executive’s control beginning Nov. 1.
“It’s going to eliminate duplication and centralize these services,” County Executive Russ Pry said.
The county has been operating four separate departments for years. Pry said he’s not sure why, other than they evolved under different elected officials as the technology became available.
GIS functions are done now by the community and economic development, environmental services, fiscal and engineer’s offices. And it took Pry, Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise and Engineer Al Brubaker to agree to the change.
Today, there are 12 county employees devoted to GIS work, which can include everything from identifying the location of manhole covers to housing appraisals. After the consolidation, there will be 10 workers.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a previously announced settlement agreement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District over the agency’s new stormwater management program.
Summit County and many communities in the northern portion of the county had sued the agency over its plans to charge property owners within the district a new stormwater fee.
A Cuyahoga County judge has ruled that the district has the authority to charge the fee, which varies depending on the amount of impervious surface at a home or business.
• Agreed to continue to hold its committee meetings at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, and council meetings at 5 p.m. on Mondays next year — but not without an objection.
Councilman Bill Roemer, as he has done in previous years, recommended that meetings be moved to later in the evening so the public could participate. The council also doesn’t provide video of its meetings like some communities so there isn’t much opportunity for the public to see the council in action, he noted.
Several council members shot down the idea of changing the meeting times and said they haven’t heard any requests from the public for later meetings.
“When the public is really concerned, they are here,” Councilwoman Paula Prentice said.
Councilman John Schmidt accused Roemer of “grandstanding” on the issue and said there would be more of that if council meetings were broadcast.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.