ELKINS - Elkins City Council voted Thursday to hire a firm to compile and prepare the data necessary for current city addresses to be included in the Randolph County 911 Center's computer-aided dispatch system.
City Council decided in March 2012 it would not adopt the Randolph County Commission's 911 mapping plan, after hosting a public meeting to gauge how residents felt. Mapping and addressing had been a controversial issue in town for several years leading up to the decision.
On Thursday, City Clerk Sutton Stokes stressed that the firm, Landmark Geospatial, based in Horner, will be able to gather the required information without any city addresses having to be changed.
"Right now there are no plans to change addresses," Stokes said.
Landmark Geospatial's four-phase plan is to gather and prepare all initial data needed for the project; to perform address matching and verification; to implement a GIS (Geographic Information System) for the city; and to deliver the final data to the Randolph 911 Center.
During the third phase, the firm will provide two days of "specialized GIS training" for city employees who will use the system once it is in place.
The city will pay Landmark Geospatial $27,5000 for the project work. On Thursday, Council approved a "contribution" from the city's Water Fund Depreciation Account toward the cost of the E911 project "in an amount not to exceed $16,000."
The ordinance stated that "employees of the city's Water Fund will be aided in their work by the GIS system that will be created in the course of this project."
Also at Thursday's meeting:
Council members said they considered the allocation an investment toward gaining information, as many residents were interested in the idea of having a permanent ice skating rink in Elkins,
"We're spending a small amount of money to see if it's feasible to have one in town (permanently)," Councilman Mark Scott said.
After the application period ends in March, the committee will bring the best three to five candidates to a City Council meeting to be interviewed by all the council members, Scott said.
Councilman Carman Metheny demanded to know why the entire Council wasn't taking part in selecting the candidates. Scott said the committee was simply following policy, and other council members said previous city positions had been filled through the process of a search committee.
Metheny asked whether Lt. S.D. Richards, who has been representing the department at City Council meetings for months, would have to apply in order to be considered for the chief's position. Scott said he would because, according to policy, the job had to be posted.
Former Chief H.R. White retired in October after 25 years of service. He was appointed chief of the department in June 2010.
The next Elkins City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at City Hall.