Commission hears Revenue Office concerns

Published 11:09 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

With the end of the fiscal year less than two months away, Revenue Commissioner Sherry McSwean informed the County Commission of a dilemma her office is currently facing.

McSwean said that several years ago, her office employed a property mapper, and that Crenshaw and Butler counties shared the burden of expenses for the position.

Eventually, the revenue office was faced with a problem when no mappers were available to serve the county, and the best option was to outsource the mapping.

The county first used Smart Data Strategies, but later turned to Flagship GIS.

“We went with Flagship and paid $24,500 last year,” McSwean said. “This year, they’re quoting $37,000.”

McSwean said that this came about last week, after she had already submitted her budget for the year.

She also said that she had been in contact with someone who might be interested in serving as the mapper for Crenshaw and Butler counties.

There was also discussion about training an existing employee to handle the duties of mapper.

“We may have to spend a little bit now, but we’ll save later,” said Commissioner Charlie Sankey. “We’ve got to be proactive.”

McSwean said she would report back at the next meeting with a list of options.

County administrator David Smyth reported to the Commission that a copy of a cease and desist letter had been received on behalf of Lehe Planning, LLC concerning a hazard mitigation plan prepared for the county by Lee Helms Associates, LLC.

Lehe alleges that a 2008 Crenshaw County Hazard Plan prepared by LHA is “little more than a copy” of a 2004 plan prepared by Lehe “with some minor modifications.”

In the letter, Lehe lays out a number of demands, including “an identification of each and every instance in which LHA has incorporated or copied any portion of Lehe work product,” a copy of those items, and documents showing the amount paid for work incorporating Lehe’s work.

The letter also stated that Lehe has not made any final decisions about what further actions it will take, and that it is not its present intention to file litigation.

Smyth said that he had spoken with county attorney Johnny Nichols, and that Nichols didn’t believe the dispute would affect the county through the loss of grant money or other penalties.

Probate Judge Jim Perdue also spoke about the ongoing re-districting process, which may include a revamping of polling locations because of new district lines.

“Our intent is to keep every active poll worker on our list,” Perdue said.

A map of the proposed new district lines can be viewed at the probate office.