The Planning Commission currently has the responsibility for administering the technology needs of Union County. The Technology pages of the official Union County Government Web Site provide a "road map" for technology-based growth & economic development in Union County. GRADD (Green River Administrave Development District) conducted a study in 2006, that resulted in the publication of "Connect Union County," a strategic technology plan that recommended the expansion of broadband technology in Union County.
Union County partnered with ConnectGRADD to add wireless access to previously unserviced areas of the county. ConnectGRADD has advertised to create awareness of the convenience, growth, productivity, & empowerment available through digitial applications. Since January 2009, the Union County Fiscal Court has promoted the integration of productivity, financial, geographic mapping, & other web enabled applications to further ConnectGRADD goals for "developing and expanding community applications that will drive the use of broadband access & ultimately encourage residents to become technologically savvy."
In December 2008, the newly appointed Union County Planning Director, Sean Sheffer, met with a project team to review the state of IT within the Union County Courthouse. We agreed to verify the county’s need for a file server that would support the immediate needs of the GIS Services unit of the Planning Commission. After completing a preliminary review & then expanding it to include the related computer needs of Union County First and the Emergency Management Authority, we agreed to form a Transformation Review Board to meet weekly to determine how the computer systems could be integrated for more effective & efficient use of resources.
As a result of the recommendation to establish a Transformation Review Board, the team of Union County Fiscal Court management personnel with a stake in computer systems support & geographic information systems identified ways to better utilize existing resources. The team prepared a GIS Strategic Plan that provided a framework for implementation and a road map for guidance.
It came to our attention in April 2009, that Union County might qualify for a Delta Region Authority grant for expanding use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the county. A pre-application was approved by the governor & an application was submitted to DRA, which was approved in September 2009. In April 2010, we began receiving the funds so that we could begin purchasing a multi-processor Dell Server & the Windows Small Business Server 2008. Upon installation of the server, we began moving users from various desktop workstations & several storage servers to the central domain server for the courthouse.
Without a doubt, the technology has improved the effectiveness & efficiency in service delivery for the county. The following list includes many of the tasks completed during the 2011 fiscal year that resulted in the successful completion of the GIS Server project and increased access to county resources via Internet requiring broadband technology:
• Evaluated & purchased Dell Storage Server to centralize GIS data on a GISSERVER file server
• Secured DRA Grant to implement a GIS Server for Union County, KY
• Implemented a directory structure to support a Production Environment & a Published Environment for GIS data
• Implemented an ArcGIS file geodatabase to support the mapping & data needs associated with county assets
• Implemented an ArcGIS personal geodatabase to facilitate access to GIS data for mapping
• Purchased & installed laptops, scanner, printers, & network with broadband access to support centralized GIS Server
• Upgraded Desktop Single User ArcGIS from 9.3 to 9.3.1 using license server
• Upgraded Desktop Single User ArcGIS from 9.3 and 9.3.1 to 10.0
• Installed ArcInfo Multi-User ArcGIS 9.3.1
• Upgraded Arcinfo Multi-User ArcGIS 9.3.1 to 10.0
• Installed ArcPublisher & implemented process to publish maps in PMF format for access using ArcViewer
• Selected a local service provider to install a help desk, website, & domain server to support GISSERVER
• Purchased & installed Municipal Codes Analyst, a GIS enabled permit management application to support Union County Planning Commission
• Implemented a process to sync PVA GIS data with Planning GIS data
• Purchased Trimble GPS equipment to improve ability to gather coordinates for county assets such as water lines, water meters, sewer lines, & man holes
• Purchased AutoCAD software to improve engineering information for the Planning Commission
• Purchased & installed an OCE large format plotter/scanner to copy & print engineering drawings
• Purchased a Document Management System to handle scanned documents including large format diagrams
The goal of Union County’s GIS project is to deliver information available in the Planning Directors mapping program to the public through the Internet & to also assist our various departments in using technology to become more efficient.
Union County’s Judge Executive Jody Jenkins & the Fiscal Court has fully supported this project and supplemented DRA funding with personnel to manage the project & to perform project related tasks. While the population of Union County is small compared to many other Kentucky counties, we believe that it has benefitted immensely & will continue to benefit from the commitment made to advancing technology in 2011.
This project recognized the need for an IT infrastructure (equipment & personnel) in order to support internal needs as well as to expand to meet the needs of external users. With expanded GIS Server access, equipment to gather GPS data, & a customized website (www.unioncountyky.org), to be operational by April 1, 2011, we believe the county is uniquely positioned to provide online services comparable to many of Kentucky’s largest counties & exceeds those of most other counties of its size.
The commitment to IT infrastructure by the Fiscal Court is also increasing awareness by other local government entities such as the County Clerk who has added online search & access to public records (www.cotthosting/kyunionexternal) and the Property Valuation Administrator who will place online in June access to property records using QPublic. The Union County Sheriff has added a kiosk for users to access tax information & the Senior Services Center is upgrading computer equipment to more easily access the Internet.
During the 2011 fiscal year, Union County has taken a major step forward in providing high speed access to the Internet to its citizens as well as added applications to make its resources more useful & easily available to the public.