Jasper County residents will soon be able to file and pay for permits online 24/7 if the board of supervisors approves a contract with Schneider Geospatial to modify the county’s existing geographic information system (GIS).
Schneider Business Development Manager Ryan Smith explained the web-based tool to the board Tuesday at the Jasper County Courthouse during the supervisor’s regular weekly meeting. He said the online permitting would be an expansion of the county’s existing Beacon GIS system.
The system is billed to streamline workflow, making permits and land parcel information accessible between departments and to the public. Smith also touted it as a way for county residents to notify the engineer’s office of problems with infrastructure around the clock.
He appeared Tuesday with county information technology director Ryan Eaton.
“A citizen could go online on a weekend and say, ‘There’s a problem spot right here,’” Eaton said. “They can submit a photo or (other data), and that would go in a workflow system and notify the appropriate department or engineer. They would then get a confirmation back that it’s been received and a confirmation that it’s resolved.”
Schneider is offering a five-year, $70,000 contract to add online permitting to the county’s existing Beacon system — $37,000 for the first year, which includes $4,500 for setup, $8,100 for the server to host the information and $25,000 for implementation. According to the contract, the remaining four years will cost the $8,100 per year hosting fee.
Smith said the system would also make filling out the appropriate permits less difficult, pulling in all the proper reference numbers and data on each specific parcel of land referenced. Beacon would keep a history of every permit pulled, denied or accepted for every Jasper County parcel and be able to inform residents and county employees what types of permits a parcel is eligible for based on planning and zoning records.
“You have more than one physical building, so this (system) is valuable just because of that,” Smith said. “If there are any cities in the county that need to be notified of permits in specific areas, no longer will you have to pay someone to drive to deliver a few pieces of paper.”
Board Vice Chair Doug Cupples polled county employees in the board chamber Tuesday on how frequently they think they would use Beacon for permitting. County Community Development Director Nick Fratzke said, “I would use this every single day.”
“I think a product like this, where we are able to have communication, is real to us,” Cupples said.
Smith also cautioned the board this system is for non-emergency complaints like a pothole. For more immediate needs like a down stop sign, residents should still contact county law enforcement or the engineer’s office directly.
The board voted to set a public hearing to consider the Schneider contract at 9:30 a.m. March 26, during the board’s next regularly scheduled weekly meeting.
In other action Tuesday, the supervisors:
• Heard from Monroe City Clerk Kim Thomas about her city’s interest in acquiring the county’s maintenance shed located in Monroe no longer in use. County Engineer Russ Stutt said the shed is one of three throughout the county that are vacant and under consideration for sale.
Thomas said city staff was hoping the supervisors would consider gifting the shed to the city; however, Stutt said the proper procedure is to put county property out to bid to get the highest return for taxpayers.
County Auditor Dennis Parrott said he would consult with the county attorney about options for selling or gifting the property.
• Approved a $60,000 transfer from the general fund to the Mariposa Park Capital Project Fund in a 3-0 vote. Jasper County Conservation has been in the process of watershed restoration and lake dredging project at Mariposa since 2017. The work is slated to be finished later this year.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.