The Ball Ground City Council welcomed special guest Brock Ryan to Thursday night’s meeting as he presented the latest updates on efforts to update geographical information about the city.

As the city is looking to modernize its Geographic Information System and have the most accurate information available, Ryan said he and his colleagues at the Atlanta-based firm of InterDev have been diligently working on the project, which he explained is almost complete and ready to launch. While GIS can be described as computerized mapping, Ryan said there is more to it than simply mapping important information out on a computer. Not only can this update make it easier to access information about land within the city, but also makes it more accurate by taking maps developed from hand-drawn books of the past and eliminating the mistakes that arose from these earlier maps.

Ryan demonstrated how the system, which will be made available to both local officials and members of the public, will work once it is ready to be launched. Whenever the map is pulled up, the individual accessing the site will be able to view as much information as he or she desires, including how certain properties are zoned, where water mains and fire hydrants are located and even areas considered at risk for potential flooding. Each layer of the map will allow viewers to see even more information related to what they are looking at. For example, when looking at a map detailing the zoning of property parcels throughout town, clicking on a specific parcel pulls up an information bubble explaining more about the property in question. Clicking on one of the links in that bubble brings up a website link that explains what can and cannot be done on property of that particular zoning category.

One resident asked if it would be possible to include additional layers, such as school zoning maps, within the system. Ryan said it would.

During his presentation, City Manager Eric Wilmarth said the total balance in the city’s accounts was approximately $940,000. Although the Valley streetscape project is currently 90% completed, he said the sidewalks were seeing a lot of use, while other projects in town that have been completed included water line extensions on Valley Street and McHan Street. Lastly, he said the city was potentially looking at reestablishing the neighborhood watch program.

The Ball Ground City Council also took action on the following items:

♦ A motion to accept a first reading regarding an application for an alcoholic beverage license from Barrel House Coffee was approved.

♦ The council approved a motion to adopt a neutral millage rate for property taxes in the city, as there are a number of disagreements contained within the tax digest, and the city is looking for more uniformity on this, including working with the tax assessor’s office to even everything out.

♦ A motion to approve a facility use agreement with the American Red Cross that would allow the Red Cross to use the town gymnasium in the event of an emergency situation.

♦ The council approved a motion, accepting the second reading of the dynamic braking ordinance, which will allow the law to take effect. During its work session earlier in the evening, it was explained that signs notifying drivers of this law will be placed at Preserve Parkway, Marion Spence Road and Howell Bridge Road.

The next meeting of the Ball Ground City Council will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 11.

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