CLEARWATER – Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously approved a six-year $2.46 million contract April 24 with Environment Systems Research Institute for geographic information systems software, maintenance, training and support services.
Contract approval was recommended by an interagency Enterprise GIS Steering Committee that has has been studying the county’s needs since the summer of 2010.
According to a staff report, GIS is an integral part of the county’s operation. The use of GIS also has been increasing, due to increased use of the technology by the public.
The committee assessed GIS best practices by local government and came up with a strategy and short-term action plan, which included use of common countywide GIS data standards. The plan also includes consolidation of GIS infrastructure, technology support and development services into Business Technology Services, instead of individual departments.
Currently, county departments are using a variety of GIS applications and some are out of date and no longer supported by vendors. However, the county has made a “significant investment” over the past few years in Environment Systems Research Institute products and services, the committee reports.
“ESRI is recognized as the world’s leading GIS software vendor and ESRI’s solutions have become the defacto GIS standard in government,” according to a staff report written by Property Appraiser Pam Dubov, BTS Director Paul Alexander and Purchasing Manager Joe Lauro, all members of the EGIS committee. “Since the county invested heavily in this software product, it was prudent to leverage the established close working relationship with ESRI to negotiate directly on a non-competitive basis and bypass potential resellers of the product line.”
The county’s enterprise license agreement also includes provisions that allow local municipalities and the county to “seamlessly collaborate and share data,” at no additional costs the report said.
During the first four years of the agreement, the county can install an unlimited quantity of ESRI software for a fixed cost of $1,872,000. On the fourth year, the county must complete an inventory of installed software, which will be used to establish the perpetual license ownership.
Software maintenance and support services will cost a total of $294,100 for each of the final two years of the agreement.
In other business, the commission:
- discussed the possibility of creating a countywide domestic partnership registry. Welch said the cities of Clearwater, Gulfport and St. Petersburg were talking about creating a registry. He said it would give residents the right to visit their partners in the hospital and make critical care decisions.
“It makes sense for this to be countywide – not something passed by each city,” he said in terms of ease of use of a registry by area health facilities.
Commissioner Nancy Bostock said she would like to learn more. Welch said he had asked staff to look at what others are doing and see what “it would look like” in Pinellas.
- agreed to schedule a work session on the possibility of using sponsorships of mile markers on the Pinellas Trail and naming rights of park facilities to raise more money to pay for trails and parks.
Commissioner Ken Welch advised caution, remembering the “last time we tried to generate money for the parks and things got out of hand.”
Commissioner Susan Latvala said the Parks Board was scheduled to discuss the idea and the possibility of beginning with a pilot program on a short piece of the trail to see if it works.