Officials approve supplies list, 911-services contract

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Equipment improves, costs go down in new 10-year pact

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – Perry County’s commissioners approved at a regular meeting Nov. 4 specifications for highway supplies, renewal of a 911 service agreement and a computer-maintenance-contract update.

Specifications for fuel, crushed stone and culvert materials were to be advertised twice in the News after the county leaders approved them, County Auditor Connie Berger said. Bids will be opened at their first December meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6. That’s a change from the first-Monday-of-the-month schedule the commissioners normally follow.

County Highway Superintendent Eddie Feix “tells me that nothing has changed” on any of the supplies he’s requesting, Berger said.

911 service

County Emergency Management Director Steve Hauser said an agreement with AT&T for 911 services expired at the end of October.

“Twenty years ago, we started,” he told the commissioners, “and it’s a 10-year agreement … we have had no problems (and) very good service.” County attorney Chris

Goffinet had reviewed it and “had no problem with it,” Hauser added.

Craig Bennett represented the company at the meeting. The agreement covers the equipment, its maintenance and a database, he said, adding that no additional costs are incurred unless the commissioners choose to add services or additional equipment.

Equipment, costs improve

“Once it’s signed, it’s done for 10 years,” he said. “And if you look at the current agreement versus the last agreement, this one’s actually less money than it was 10 years ago.”

Adding a position after the last agreement was signed 10 years ago brought the cost to $715,589, Bennett said. The new cost would be $695,000.

“Basically, for 20 years, your costs have been the same or less,” he noted.

A 911 surcharge on telephone bills funds the costs, Hauser said. A law that went into effect last year changed fees in an effort to make them more uniform as increasing numbers of people abandoned landlines to take up cell phones.

Commissioner Randy Kleaving asked about equipment improvements over the last 10 years, eliciting chuckles from Hauser and Bennett.

Equipment installed in 2003 “has been discontinued, so we can’t even support it anymore,” Bennett replied. “The good news is the system you’re going to today is basically a lot more software-driven, so when we come and put a new PC in, it really doesn’t matter if it’s a Dell, HP or whatever, as long as the operating system is still the same.” The software needs to be kept up to date, he added, explaining a California company that supplies the equipment “has been in the business since (19)67 or ‘68, somewhere around there. They come out with about one major software upgrade a year, so you get that as part of your agreement. Something could break at nine years and six months, and we’re going to come out and replace it and you’ll never see a bill for it.”

Financing the service

Hauser said he sent letters to Fifth Third, German American and Old National banks seeking quotes for financing the cost “and we also had an original quote from AT&T on their financing institution.”

German American offered two options, he continued, and the commissioners voted to accept the first one, which includes a 3.25-percent interest rate for the first five years.

It would be readjusted at the end of that period, then remain fixed for the next five. It would save $24,690 over the first five years as compared to the second option, he said. “Even if the rate did go up for the following five years, it may have to go up as high as 7 percent or above to really make a difference.”

Fifth Third offered a similar “five-five plan” with a 3.33-percent interest rate for the first five years, Hauser said.

Old National didn’t provide a quote, he added, and AT&T’s offer “was a little higher than the other two quotes that we have.”

“We have an adequate amount budgeted for 2014,” he told the commissioners. Berger added that “we feel we’ll be fine on financing for it (with) the money coming in from the state.”

Computer contract

The computer-maintenance contract with Innovative Technical Solutions was due for renewal Nov. 1, Berger told the commissioners, and covers servers, printers and other components at a cost of $685 per month. The Pendleton company has served the county for several years, she also said.