|North Adams Council OKs IT Upgrades, Delays Nuisance Hearing|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff|
12:10AM / Wednesday, July 25, 2012
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday night approved the borrowing of $160,000 for technological upgrades for City and public safety facilities.
Council Vice President Lisa Blackmer led the meeting in President Michael Bloom's absence on Tuesday.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said the bond would include a 5 percent contingency and would be paid out over five years.
"The payment would be appropriated from the technology fund each year with no impact on the budget or the tax rate," he said. It would include a $78,000 "state-of-the-art phone system, Internet based that will allow us a lot more capacity and certain things we can do."
He said the phone system could be expanded to the Council on Aging, the library and other areas in the future. Also in the borrowing is funding for 34 new Dell desktop works station ($20,805); disaster recovery, planning and backup for all IT ($39,911); and faxing over IP, which will allow faxing from every work station ($11,278).
The administration expects significant savings from phone-based fax system which would no longer require fax machines, paper, toner and servicing. "This would really render our print fax machines obselete," said the mayor.
Not in the list is a very expensive software update for the accounting systems. "After long discussion, it was determined we needed to live without something," Alcombright told the council. "The reason for that is we wanted to be able to pay for this from the technology account — from the money that comes in from Time Warner — and not have to stretch that money out. ... So we've delayed that upgrade."
Councilor John Barrett III said he supported the purchases but questioned the wording on the order which he believed expressly pointed to the "computer assisted integrated financial management and accounting system."
"I just don't see anything in here that's germaine to the communications," he said, asking if the bond counsel could review it again.
Alcombright said the bond counsel had written the order based on the description of the purchases that were also supplied to the City Council. His take was that the references to the financial systems was the Dell work stations (the order also refers to general computer hardware and software, and data processing) but he said he would recheck with bond counsel and bring any potential wording change back at the next meeting.
Mayor Richard Alcombright explains the reasoning behind the technology purchases.
The council unanimously approved, with President Michael Bloom absent, to passed the bond authorization to a second reading and to be published.
A public hearing on the determining whether a building at 160 Eagle St. was a public nuisance was continued to next month because of a question on the ownership of the building.
Michael Hernandez was notified as the building's owner but he communicated by letter to the city clerk's office that the owner was actually Nandez LLC. The mayor, however, said Hernandez was listed as the manager and signatory of Nandez LLC, which according to documents on file with the secretary of state was dissolved in 2009.
On the advice of the city solicitor, the city will notify both Nandez LLC and Michael Hernandez as signatory, both of the same address, for the continuance. Hernandez indicated in his letter that on proper notification, he "will be pleased to attend any hearing you wish to schedule."
In other business, the council saw the swearing in of a number of permanent and reserve police and firefighters.