By Sue Botos
Although some areas of the city budget, such as salaries and equipment purchases, can be trimmed in the hope of lightening the financial load, technology is one facet that must be kept up to date.
With that in mind, City Council has OK’d the purchase of 56 personal computer workstations from Dell at a total cost of $43,112.72. The CPUs (central processing units) will be used in various departments and were purchased under the state cooperative purchasing act.
The funds for the purchase will come from the city’s equipment purchase software and hardware fund and POPAS (Police on Patrol Arresting Speeders). Two or three of the units will be used in the police department.
Councilman Michael O’Donnell explained at council’s recent committee session that about 18 of the oldest computers have already been replaced. He said the 56 new units will replace computers that have been in service for five years or longer.
While five years does not sound like a long time, it’s old age in the computer world. “They won’t support the new software, and Microsoft has discontinued tech support (for those models),” O’Donnell said. He said that a plan is in the works that would replace aged computers on a more regular basis. He added that a separate ordinance will be presented dealing with software.
O’Donnell added that passage of the legislation authorizing the purchase was a “timing issue” and that a contract with Dell had to be approved by March 12, or the cost would go up by 10 percent.
“We have not been purchasing computers, but now our backs are against the wall,” Mayor Pam Bobst commented.
Responding to a question by Councilman at Large Dave Furry, O’Donnell explained that the old units will be “cannibalized,” the parts of which will be used for other older machines still in service. Any old computers still intact will be sold at a police auction.
O’Donnell added that cost was “shopped” outside of the state cooperative, which offers municipalities the opportunity to purchase items at a lower cost. “It was pretty clear that Dell was the lowest and best price,” he said.