HIRED

Jackson County soon may have a new county zoning administrator who also has experience with geographic information systems.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors last week voted to offer a contract for the position to an unnamed woman.

The woman is not being named because the supervisors have not yet voted to hire her, according to Becki Chapin, the county’s human resources director. That action was expected to take place at the supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, Jan. 12, which occurs after press deadline.

However, the woman accepted and planned to begin working in three weeks, Supervisor Jack Willey said during a county Conference Board meeting the evening of Jan. 5.

The zoning administrator position became vacant Dec. 1 after Ben Kober resigned.

The county received five applications for the position.

The new zoning administrator was offered $62,000 per year — more money than initially planned due to her experience with geographic information systems (GIS). That GIS knowledge is an added skillset the county is willing to pay a little more for, the supervisors said.

GIS is a computer mapping system capable of assembling, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically referenced information. The mapping technology can be applied to such uses as planning new land developments, studying environmental issues, maintaining real estate land records, routing emergency vehicles, etc.

In August, the supervisors fired Heather Brusnahan, the county’s first GIS coordinator. They said they wanted to maintain GIS services but were unsure how.

Earlier in their Jan. 5 meeting, the supervisors signed an agreement with Schneider GIS to provide 48 hours of assistance between now and March 31. Schneider also provides services to 10 or so other Iowa counties. Schneider GIS already has been working with the county assessor’s office to make 911 updates required by the state.

Some of Schneider’s GIS assistance includes training, which could help the incoming zoning administrator, the supervisors noted.

In other supervisors news:

• A new 188th Street bridge could cost an estimated $604,000, according to engineering and design work completed by Alex Davis, the county’s assistant engineer.

The 60-foot bridge, located about 15 miles northeast of Maquoketa in Farmers Creek Township, was closed last March because its substructure was described as being in “imminent failure condition,” according to a bridge inspection report completed that month. About 15 vehicles a day crossed the bridge, the report said.

The bridge collapsed into Lytle Creek less than four months later.

As a result, the supervisors bumped it up higher on the county’s five-year road plan, scheduling it for completion in 2021.

The Iowa Department of Transportation must send the project out to bid, which county engineer David Dryer said should happen in March.

• Willey was selected as board chairman for 2021, replacing Mike Steines, who has held that position for two years. Larry McDevitt will be vice chairman.