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COLLABORATION: City, County Join in Computerized Mapping

"Working together we can accomplish more:" Hickner, Finn Say

April 7, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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"Louie" (Claude Rains and "Rick" (Humphrey Bogart) in 1943 Classic film "Casablanca."

What was it Cafe owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) said to Police Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) as the pair amble off in the mist ending the wartime anti-Nazi propaganda thriller film "Casablanca"?

"Louie, this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship."

Picture Bay City Manager Rick Finn and Bay County Executive Tom Hickner in those roles. You decide which is which. (Clue: the first name.)

In that same vein, the byword of the City of Bay City and Bay County is becoming: We can accomplish more by working together than we can by working separately.

After almost a year of planning and collaboration, Bay County and the City of Bay City will officially roll out the new Geographic Information System (GIS) web viewer platform during a public presentation in the Bay County Board of Commission Chambers on Tuesday, April 12th at 5 p.m.

"This presentation will also serve as an official recognition of the County and City working together in a joint partnership," said County Executive Thomas L. Hickner.

County and City GIS staff will be on hand for the presentation to answer questions and highlight the capabilities of the new GIS viewer.

The GIS web viewer is a computerized mapping system that also contains a large database of information about the areas mapped. Examples include water well locations, FEMA flood plain boundaries, current tax parcels, as well as soils, aerial photographs, wetlands, and a variety of other information.

"This is a terrific opportunity to showcase how local governments can work together and improve services for area residents," said Hickner.

City Manager Finn echoes the County Executive's thoughts saying, "the City is very excited to have partnered with the County to offer this new improved service to the residents and potential land owners through the City; a one stop shop for persons seeking property data. This is the beginning of what we believe will be a long-term partnership between the County and the City."

The new online resource will be a valuable tool to provide better GIS services to the citizens of Bay County and Bay City as well as coordination with outside agencies like the Bay County Road Commission.

Many local businesses and government agencies also rely on our GIS web viewers.

Other examples of Bay County/Bay City collaboration include:

Ongoing coordination goes on between the Bay City Wastewater Treatment Plant and Bay County Environmental Affairs and Community Development -- to better inform the public about the true quality of the treatment at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and Retention Treatment Basins (RTB) discharges.

"The City of City WWTP goal is to produce high-quality effluent using advanced treatment processes & purifying the water discharged from residential, commercial & industrial sources," said Carol L. Injasoulian, manager. "We do this in order to protect the Bay Area Watershed, create an environmentally safe recreational destination & enhance the regional vitality & growth strategy. The Bay City WWTP is honored to partner with the county in an effort to better educate the community on the high-quality service that the WWTP provides for its residents and the Greater Bay Region."

The Earth Day event this year (April 22) will be observed at the Pere Marquette Depot (with an informational session with Guest Speaker Dr. Joan Rose, water quality expert of Michigan State University, along with City Wastewater & County Health officials.

Open Houses will be held (from 1-3 pm) at the Wastewater Treatment Plants -- both in the City of Saginaw and the City of Bay City, to showcase the effective treatments that occur during rain events, to protect the water quality in the Saginaw River.

Another area where there is coordination between the County and the city is in coastal storm hazards planning, notes Laura Ogar, county environmental and public affairs director. The City is engaged in this broader community effort and has been awarded grant funds for resiliency planning and risk reduction particular to the City of Bay City.

Also, the Bay County Division on Aging is active in providing services in the City of Bay City, and county Recreation programming is offered to youth in the City.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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