Approximately 20 percent of Morgan County’s 4,000 addresses need fixing, contributing to a headache for dispatch and emergency service crews.
“As I’ve gone through the county, there are some pretty significant addressing issues,” said Dave Manning, Morgan County’s geographic information systems technician. Manning estimates that an average week sees at least five addresses come across his desk that emergency dispatchers are not able to effectively find. “That’s a lot of addresses each year we have a struggle with.”
Sheriff Blaine Breshears agreed, noting that dispatchers don’t quite know how to handle the fact that State Street, 300 North and Highway 66 are all the same road. “The computer won’t verify some addresses,” he said.
Some fixes may be simply flip flopping address out of chronological order, but some are more complicated as one side of the street may include both even and odd numbers, Manning said.
Manning is seeking a $13,000 to $17,000 state grant to create a master address list for the county using GIS technology. The county would be required to match the grant at 20 percent, or up to $3,400. Manning asked the county to consider sending him to a GIS and National Emergency Number Association conference/training as their matching portion of the grant.
However, the Morgan County Council would like to explore other training options such as bringing in an expert to train one-on-one with Manning. The matter will be on the council’s June 5 agenda.
“The grant will allow us the opportunity to go in and evaluate every address in the county, and afford us the opportunity to straighten out address issues,” Manning said.
If the county does receive the grant monies, the master address list would need to be finished by Nov. 30. Although Manning said his current workload without this project is heavy, he said he that at the council’s direction he would move the project to the top of his priority list to meet the deadline. He also asked the council to consider using the grant money to hire a contractor to help accomplish the task.
“It is easy to find good reasons to make this a priority,” Manning said.
The new master list would aid dispatchers in quickly and accurately sending law enforcement and emergency crews to correct addresses, Manning said.
As part of the grant, the state would like the county to appoint an authorizing officials to maintain the master address list as well as assign addresses to new homes and businesses. Although the council tentatively agreed Manning would be the best qualified county employee to act as the authorizing official, Manning said he would need more training to carry out those responsibilities. Already, Manning said the county has about 100 parcels that still need addresses assigned to them. Many cabins in remote areas of the county do not have addresses assigned to them, he said.