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Date: 9/28/2010

To: Jackson County Board of Commissioners


From: Janice Fransen, County Coordinator
RE: Proposal for GIS Reorganization and Phased Combination of the Planning & Environmental Services
Department with the Highway Department into a Public Works Department

The State of Minnesota is facing unprecedented budget constraints. With predictions of a 6 billion dollar plus deficit
in the 2011-2013 biennium looming, the County must look at how it delivers services and assure we are being as
cost effective as possible, while still delivering services in the most effective manner.

One approach to permanently reduce costs is to reduce staff expense, which is the largest categorical cost for the
County. This proposal, which is a phased approach, would first shift primary GIS responsibility from the Planning and
Environmental Services Department to the Highway Department. Ultimately, the two departments would be merged
into a Public Works department. This will result in greater efficiency, as well as better utilization of staff and
resources. This can be achieved while still maintaining a consistent and potentially improved level of service to the
citizens of Jackson County.

History

The current GIS system in Jackson County started in earnest when Jackson County entered into a contract with ACS
to digitize approximately 9600 parcels and provide updates to the parcel layer three times a year in January of 2001.
The cities of Jackson and Lakefield also participated in that project, and they continue to get updates today. In 2006
we determined that we would bring the task of updating the parcel layer in-house to speed up the turn-around and
reduce contract costs. The necessary software and training was provided to the GIS Technician, and in 2007, we
terminated the maintenance contract with ACS.

Currently there is a .80 FTE GIS Technician position in the Planning and Environmental Services department, and a
1.0 FTE Temporary GIS Technician position in the Highway Department, which is grant funded. The grant funding is
for Ditch Modernization and the current grant will run out at the end of 2010. There is no allocation for 2011, but
there could be potential for future allocations.

Jared Baloun, Temporary GIS Technician, was asked to do an assessment of the current state of GIS in Jackson
County. See Appendix A - Status of Jackson County GIS for his report.

Proposal A - Phase One

• Reduce the position of GIS Technician in the Planning and Environmental Services Department. (currently
.80 FTE) to .60 FTE and create a new position of GIS Technician – Highway. Primary responsibility for GIS,
including maintenance of the parcel layer would be shifted to the new GIS Technician – Highway. The GIS
Technician – Planning would be responsible for GIS duties within the Planning & Environmental Services
department, as well as other departmental duties. Funding for the Planning & Environmental Services
support staff would also be shifted to better access State funding sources.

GIS Technician – Planning GIS Technician – Planning


.80 FTE .60 FTE
Current Duties Proposed Duties
ƒ Update and maintain parcel and layer ƒ Produce ad hoc maps when necessary
maps ƒ Assist with water testing and collect water
ƒ Produce ad hoc maps when necessary samples
ƒ Assist with water testing and collect ƒ Duties at the Household Hazardous
water samples Waste facility
ƒ Duties at the Household Hazardous ƒ General office support
Waste facility
ƒ General office support

7/20/2010 1
Proposal

Temporary GIS Technician – Highway GIS Technician – Highway


1.0 FTE 1.0 FTE
Current Duties Proposed Duties
ƒ Assists the Drainage Supervisor/ ƒ GIS Development
County Engineer with GIS ƒ Manage and maintain GIS Databases
development. ƒ Update and maintain ditch maps, profiles
ƒ Manages and maintains GIS and layer maps
databases. ƒ Update and maintain parcel and layer
ƒ Updates and maintains ditch maps, maps
profiles and layer maps. ƒ Produce ad hoc maps when necessary
ƒ Web Site Development. ƒ Section corner project
ƒ Parcel layer rectification
ƒ Road Inspection
ƒ Web Site Development

• Establish a GIS User Group, which would include representatives from all departments that use GIS. The
GIS Technician – Highway would be responsible for coordination of the GIS User Group. Frequency of
meetings would be set by the group.

• Parks Maintenance staff will continue to report to the Highway Maintenance Supervisor during the winter
months for purposes of snow removal tasks.

• Commence a study regarding the feasibility of creating a Sr. Inspector or Assistant Engineer position in the
Highway Department, which would replace one of the current Engineering Tech positions. Implementation,
if appropriate, would be at the Board’s discretion.

Organizational Charts

Highway Department – Current County Engineer

Office Mgr/Accountant

Inspector II Inspector II Maintenance Supervisor Drainage Supervisor

Inspector II Temporary GIS Technician Shop Supervisor

Assistant Maintenance Foreman Chief Mechanic Drainage Crew Chief

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Proposal

Planning & Environmental Services Director of Planning & Environmental Services


– Current

Administrative Assistant

Environmental Services Officer GIS Technician Parks Operations Supervisor

Parks Maintenance Technician

Highway Department – Proposed


County Engineer

Office Mgr/Accountant

Inspector II Inspector II Maintenance Supervisor Drainage Supervisor

Inspector II GIS Technician - Highway Shop Supervisor

Assistant Maintenance Foreman Chief Mechanic Drainage Crew Chief

Planning & Environmental Services Director of Planning & Environmental Services


– Proposed

Administrative Assistant

Environmental Services Officer GIS Technician Parks Operations Supervisor

Parks Maintenance Technician

9/28/2010 3
Proposal

Budgetary Impact Summary

The Personnel Committee recommends Proposal A, as described. Proposal B would eliminate the GIS Technician -
Planning position and is being shown for comparison purposes only. Additional detail is included in Appendix B.

Current 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Funding
Grant $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Water Plan $ 13,345 $ 13,632 $ 13,632 $ 13,909 $ 13,909
SCORE $ 6,673 $ 6,816 $ 6,816 $ 6,955 $ 6,955
General Fund Levy $ 43,525 $ 43,669 $ 44,362 $ 44,500 $ 44,500
Total $ 63,543 $ 64,117 $ 64,810 $ 65,364 $ 65,364

Proposal A 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Funding
Grant $ - $ 7,317 $ 4,878 $ - $ -
Ditch $ 23,732 $ 12,195 $ 10,014 $ 17,984 $ 13,174
Integrated Land Records $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 15,415 $ 15,809
Water Plan $ 14,218 $ 14,325 $ 14,498 $ 14,602 $ 14,602
SCORE $ 14,218 $ 14,325 $ 14,498 $ 14,602 $ 14,602
General Fund Levy $ 32,167 $ 37,917 $ 44,174 $ 47,189 $ 52,919
Total $ 104,334 $ 106,079 $ 108,063 $ 109,793 $ 111,107

Proposal B 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Funding
Grant $ - $ 7,317 $ 5,007 $ - $ -
Ditch $ 23,732 $ 12,195 $ 10,014 $ 17,984 $ 13,174
Integrated Land Records $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 15,415 $ 15,809
Water Plan $ 9,213 $ 9,213 $ 9,386 $ 9,386 $ 9,386
SCORE $ 9,213 $ 9,213 $ 9,386 $ 9,386 $ 9,386
General Fund Levy $ 22,158 $ 27,693 $ 33,821 $ 36,757 $ 42,487
Total $ 84,316 $ 85,631 $ 87,614 $ 88,929 $ 90,243

Timeline

9/28/10 Board adopts Plan

1/1/11 Position of GIS Technician in the Planning & Environmental Services Department is reduced to .60
FTE under the Workforce Reduction policy.

10/4/10 The position of GIS Technician – Highway is advertised to be filled effective 1/1/11.

Oct., 2010 Commence study regarding Sr. Inspector/Assistant Engineer position in the Highway Department.

Results

• More effective and accurate utilization of the GIS system.

• Opportunity to use GIS in other areas, such as Ditches, Emergency Management, etc.

9/28/2010 4
Proposal

• Opportunity to offer additional GIS capabilities to the cities who currently subscribe to GIS updates.

Proposal - Phase Two

• When the position of Planning and Environmental Services Director becomes vacant, the position would be
re-evaluated and advertised as a supervisory position under the general direction of the Public Works
Director.

• Reclassify the County Engineer position as a Public Works Director.

• The Parks Maintenance staff would report to the Highway Maintenance Supervisor year-round.

• Relocate Planning & Environmental Services staff to the Highway Maintenance Facility.

Organizational Chart

Public Works Director


Public Works Department – Proposed

Maintenance Supervisor Drainage Supervisor Planning & Zoning Administrator

Shop Supervisor Assistant Engineer Office Manager/Accountant

Assistant Maintenance Foreman Chief Mechanic Drainage Crew Chief Civil Engineering Tech (2) Environmental Services Officer Administrative Assistant

Parks Operations Supervisor GIS Technician - Highway


Heavy Equipment Operator

Sign Worker Parks Maintenance Technician

Maintenance Crew Chief

Heavy Equipment Operator (10)

Results

• Greater cooperation between the functions of the two departments, especially in the areas of parks
maintenance, parks and trails planning, and E911.

• Lower cost by eliminating a department head position.

• Better utilization of Parks equipment and personnel and better coordination of maintenance with the
Highway maintenance crew.

Timeline

Phase two would be implemented at some point in the future when the Planning & Environmental Services Director
retires or otherwise chooses to leave his position.

9/28/2010 5
APPENDIX A

Status of Jackson County GIS


The Jackson County GIS structure has deficiencies that I have encountered while
producing maps for the ditch automation project at the highway department. These
deficiencies make it time consuming to produce maps. Most of the issues are a result of
not having an assigned projection (unknown spatial reference, i.e. where the information
exists in the actual world) and not having a centrally located hub for Jackson County GIS
information. The following deficiencies were found:

Common map projection:


Deficiency:
Minnesota is unique in that it is one of the few states that have developed a
coordinate system for each of its counties. This coordinate system increases the accuracy
of GIS data by transforming data to a real world setting. The Highway Department is
currently using the Jackson County coordinate system for surveying, plans, constructions
and ditches. A large amount of the information encountered in Jackson County’s current
GIS system is projected in UTM 15N or does not have an assigned projection all
together. The following layers had to be projected or recreated due to unknown
projection: section boundaries, township boundaries, parcel layer (with assessment
information attached) and address points. Without defining a projection to the data the
GIS program will not know the proper location of the information.
Solution:
In my opinion it is best to establish a county wide common projection to eliminate
possible problems in the future. The Jackson County Coordinate System is the most
accurate projection the county could use.

Common data storage location:


Deficiency:
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) has produced a data storage
outlet for GIS professionals called the geodatabase. ESRI is the company that produces
the software for GIS. The geodatabase allows a user to organize the multitude of files that
a Geographic Information System needs to function. Jackson County currently has GIS
information that is located in a several places. These files exist on either computer hard
drives or one of the counties network drives. This creates multiple copies of the same
data thus taking up more network drive space due to the fact that not all users may have
access to data.
Another problem is access to information. If a GIS editor has data on their
computer other individuals are not able to access it.
Solution:
My recommendation is to create a central geodatabase that has all of the counties
GIS data and is able to be accessed by everyone.

Accuracy of GIS data:


Deficiency:
Concern has been voiced over the accuracy of parcel information. Currently,
when you overlay the parcels on an aerial photo the lot lines do not match up with the

.
APPENDIX A

ground below. Visually this is confusing and could create a large number of phone calls
once the data is broadcasted to the public. For example, if a citizen of Jackson County
views their property lines through Online GIS and sees that the property line runs through
their house, it is possible that a phone call will be made to the county to correct the
problem or further investigate why there is a discrepancy. This could cost the county
time that could be spent on other tasks.
While looking at the lot lines and actual distances, there are a number of
discrepancies between the legal lengths and the lengths that are labeled (annotation
layer). The parcels are a big puzzle and when lengths are not drawn correctly the pieces
will not fit.
Solution:
My recommendation is to either redraw all the parcels based off section corner’s
verified gps locations (to create more editor and user confidence) or identify the problem
areas and redraw them. Identifying problem areas can be extremely time consuming and
further investigation is needed to determine which method is most efficient.

Implementation throughout County:


Deficiency:
GIS can provide endless benefits within the county government. These benefits
can not be reaped if the implementation process is not done properly. A solid foundation
such as creating a needs assessment can provide the steps, organization and support
necessary to properly employ GIS in county government. R.E. Sieber, Assistant
Professor at McGill University, jointly appointed to the department of Geography and
School of the Environment, sets out 7 factors that contribute to successful
implementation:
1) Evaluation of user needs;
2) Long-term upper management commitment to project;
3) Sufficient allocation of resources;
4) Adequate staffing;
5) Timely and sufficient training;
6) Someone called a “GIS champion” who will shepherd the project from
acquisition to use and;
7) Last organizational communication or diffusion to smooth the transition to full
utilization (R.E. Sieber, 2000).
Solution:
I believe that a plan for the future is vital to the success of Geographic
Information Systems in Jackson County. I recommend conducting interviews with
department heads and staff and developing a written document that summarizes all the
needs of the departments and steps in which the needs are to be accomplished. This
document should be developed through a GIS steering committee or advisory group.

* Sieber, R.E. (2000). GIS Implementation in the Grassroots. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems
Association, Vol. 12 No.1 Winter 2000, 15-29.

.
APPENDIX A

Cartography – Professional quality maps:


Deficiency:
GIS is a visually intense program that uses graphics to display multitudes of
information. A map can lose its integrity if it is not visually stimulating or looks
elementary to a reader. A map is like a book, it tells a story and should keep the reader
interested.
Solution:
The current employee GIS web map is deficient in cartographic appeal. I have
developed a map for the drainage ditch system that can be applied to the current web GIS
map to make it more appealing and functional.

Cities Involvement in GIS:


Deficiency:
At one of the recent meetings I attended it was mentioned that the Cities of
Jackson and Lakefield invested money in the initial parcel construction. What are these
cities receiving in return on their investment?
Solution:
As a county it may be beneficial to assess whether a partnership between the
County and City Governments to provide GIS services would be valuable. A partnership
between the counties and cities could provide cost sharing for new information (aerials,
data creation, etc...).

Progression of GIS:
It is the job of every GIS professional to constantly assess how they can make
GIS information better and best display the information. ESRI is continuously finding
ways to make GIS tasks more efficient. It is important for the GIS professional to stay
current with the ever changing technology. As ESRI progresses in its technology so too
should the GIS data.

Education of County Employees and the Public:


Education of users is also very important in the implementation process. GIS has
its own language and set of terms that are hard to follow. It is important for a GIS
professional to put geographic language in terms that everyone can understand so that the
County’s GIS system can be a functional tool for all departments in the county and public
users.

.
APPENDIX A

Future of GIS in Jackson County


The following information was developed by conducting interviews with the Drainage
Supervisor and technicians within the County Highway Department. A similar set of
interviews should be conducted with other County Departments to establish their
individual needs.

Highway Department

Ditches:
- Finish Basemap of Ditches: tile lines, stations, Rural Water, Underground
electric lines, Telephone.
- Create Township map books for Field Work (Spatial Extent – township)
-Paper map book
- Export CAD Profiles of ditches to PDF
- Link PDFs to Ditch segments – Create link between data and PDF exported
profiles. To be able to print profiles.
- Provide Viewers for Internal Use (Both Arcview and Web Based GIS) – first
step in Web application development
- Develop Web Based GIS for Public Use – Separate Web GIS site that has
same functionality as desktop GIS – able to view profiles, stations, ditches,
etc…,
o Continual updating of ditch activities – Update ditch data layers –
repair layer, intakes, watershed boundaries based on lidar data

Other Highway Department GIS Data:


- Surface Rating Index, Pavement Quality Index, Falling Weight Deflectometer,
and Typical Section Maps (road material depths)
- County Right of Ways drawn – separate layer for
- Temporary Legal Descriptions for Road Easements
- Bridge Data – location, load rating, Bridge Number etc…
- Trails – Ongoing Maintenance on current data due to construction
- Road Maintenance – Overlays, Sealcoats grade and gravel, 9 ton street, bit
and base, and regrade
- Signs – Import sign location information into internal viewer.
- Section Corners

Other County Departments

It is difficult to assess the needs of other county departments until individuals


meetings are conducted. The needs of each department should be recorded and goals
should be developed to meet the needs. As GIS is implemented throughout a county
more and more needs develop due to the fact that users become more familiar with the
capabilities.

.
Appendix B
GIS Reorganization - Cost Estimates
Current 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Grade Hours Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate
GIS Specialist 7 1664 8 $13.96 $ 23,229 $ 26,691 9 $14.26 $ 23,729 $ 27,264 9 $14.26 $ 23,729 $ 27,264 10 $14.55 $ 24,211 $ 27,819 10 $14.55 $ 24,211 $ 27,819
Temporary GIS Technician 13 2080
Adm. Assistant 7 2080 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546
Total $ 55,303 $ 63,543 $ 55,802 $ 64,117 $ 56,405 $ 64,810 $ 56,888 $ 65,364 $ 56,888 $ 65,364

Funding
Grant $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Water Plan $ 13,345 $ 13,632 $ 13,632 $ 13,909 $ 13,909
SCORE $ 6,673 $ 6,816 $ 6,816 $ 6,955 $ 6,955
General Fund Levy $ 43,525 $ 43,669 $ 44,362 $ 44,500 $ 44,500
Total $ 63,543 $ 64,117 $ 64,810 $ 65,364 $ 65,364

Proposed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Grade Hours Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate
GIS Specialist 7 1248 8 $13.96 $ 17,422 $ 20,018 9 $14.26 $ 17,796 $ 20,448 9 $14.26 $ 17,796 $ 20,448 10 $14.55 $ 18,158 $ 20,864 10 $14.55 $ 18,158 $ 20,864
Adm. Assistant 7 2080 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546
GIS Technician - Highway 14 2080 2 $19.86 $ 41,309 $ 47,464 3 $20.41 $ 42,453 $ 48,778 4 $20.95 $ 43,576 $ 50,069 5 $21.50 $ 44,720 $ 51,383 6 $22.05 $ 45,864 $ 52,698
Total $ 90,804 $ 104,334 $ 92,323 $ 106,079 $ 94,049 $ 108,063 $ 95,555 $ 109,793 $ 96,699 $ 111,107

Funding
Grant $ - $ 7,317 $ 4,878 $ - $ -
Ditch $ 23,732 $ 12,195 $ 10,014 $ 17,984 $ 13,174
Integrated Land Records $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 15,415 $ 15,809
Water Plan $ 14,218 $ 14,325 $ 14,498 $ 14,602 $ 14,602
SCORE $ 14,218 $ 14,325 $ 14,498 $ 14,602 $ 14,602
General Fund Levy $ 32,167 $ 37,917 $ 44,174 $ 47,189 $ 52,919
Total $ 104,334 $ 106,079 $ 108,063 $ 109,793 $ 111,107

Proposed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Grade Hours Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate Step Wage Annual Estimate
Adm. Assistant 7 2080 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 13 $15.42 $ 32,074 $ 36,853 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546 14 $15.71 $ 32,677 $ 37,546
GIS Technician - Highway 14 2080 2 $19.86 $ 41,309 $ 47,464 3 $20.41 $ 42,453 $ 48,778 4 $20.95 $ 43,576 $ 50,069 5 $21.50 $ 44,720 $ 51,383 6 $22.05 $ 45,864 $ 52,698

Total $ 41,309 $ 84,316 $ 42,453 $ 85,631 $ 43,576 $ 87,614 $ 44,720 $ 88,929 $ 45,864 $ 90,243

Funding
Grant $ - $ 7,317 $ 5,007 $ - $ -
Ditch $ 23,732 $ 12,195 $ 10,014 $ 17,984 $ 13,174
Integrated Land Records $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 20,000 $ 15,415 $ 15,809
Water Plan $ 9,213 $ 9,213 $ 9,386 $ 9,386 $ 9,386
SCORE $ 9,213 $ 9,213 $ 9,386 $ 9,386 $ 9,386
General Fund Levy $ 22,158 $ 27,693 $ 33,821 $ 36,757 $ 42,487
Total $ 84,316 $ 85,631 $ 87,614 $ 88,929 $ 90,243