Two firms vie for computer replacement contract
by Michael Cummings
The Spencer County Commissioners waded deep into technological waters at their July 19 meeting, reviewing proposals from two firms for the replacement of outdated computer equipment throughout the numerous offices within the Courthouse.
The Commissioners are looking to replace or upgrade at least 21 PCs that are currently running the Windows 7 operating system, which Microsoft announced it will no longer support beginning January 1, 2020.
Security is the main driver behind the decision to transition all workstations to Windows 10 by the end of the year. Once Microsoft ceases support of Windows 7, it will leave that operating system vulnerable to hacking and viruses since there will no longer be updates addressing known security threats.
The County took out an insurance policy against cyber attacks earlier this year, but would likely not be covered if an unsupported machine were to be compromised.
Eck-Mundy Associates of Jasper presented one proposal, while Affinity Communications offered another. Both firms are currently working within the Courthouse supporting different departments, and both are familiar with the building’s networking situation.
With a price tag of $1,500-$2,500 per workstation, the changeover will likely not come cheap. Additional costs may be required to extend necessary electrical and IT infrastructure to various locations throughout the Courthouse.
The actual dollar amounts of the proposals were not read aloud at the meeting. Being that the project will require a substantial amount of funds, the Commissioners will likely need to request an additional appropriation from the County Council before approving any contracts.
Aside from the upgrades, the Commissioners also approved an agreement with Affinity Communications for IT support services within the Courthouse for $22,500 to cover support for the remainder of 2019. Affinity also proposed a contract for similar services covering all of 2020 for $45,000, but the Commissioners agreed to revisit the 2020 proposal at a later date once budgeting season is over and funding levels for the year are established.
The Commissioners also:
• Approved a change order on the St. Meinrad storm drainage project of up to $5,000 to remove 100 feet of 16-inch storm pipe discovered during the course of work on the job. The pipe appears not to be connected to any downspouts or area drains, and was recommended for removal by engineers Cash Waggoner and Associates.
• Heard a report from Veteran Service Officer Butch Meredith detailing multiple types of claims he has assisted veterans with over the past month. Meredith also shared that anyone with hearing problems (veteran, or not) can contact him to sign up for a new phone system called CapTel. The system is free for those who qualify (courtesy of the federal government). No landline is required and users can utilize the system with a cell phone number.
• Learned that the former County highway garage demolition is wrapping up. The building is down and most material has either been staged for later use by the County or hauled away. Brett Schipp with Universal Design Associates, Ferdinand, also presented results of soil borings for the new multi-agency County building being constructed on the site. Borings were taken at all four corners of the building, and uncompacted fill was discovered at 60 inches below grade. Schipp recommended digging footings down deeper in order to avoid cracking in the concrete. Schipp also recommended a change order to excavate a 112 ft. x 72 ft. area of uncompacted fill that was under the old County highway garage, stage it north of the site to dry, then re-fill and compact it. Schipp plans to bring a price for the change to a special meeting Wednesday, July 24 at 3 p.m.
• Approved an interlocal agreement between the County and Spencer County Solid Waste management District (SWMD) for the cost sharing of operational costs associated with the new multi-agency building. The County will likely pay two-thirds and SWMD will pay the remaining third of the costs under the agreement.
• Adopted Ordinance 2019-07 addressing reporting and management of conflicts of interest with Building Inspectors and related staff. The ordinance complies with newly passed State legislation requiring all municipalities with a building inspector to pass such an ordinance.
• Reported they have reached a settlement with Alley Cat Allies, a New York-based advocacy group, in their litigation with the Animal Control Board. The group had sought to enjoin the County from reopening the Animal Control Shelter. The County was pleased with the outcome, and will reopen the shelter under an agreement with It Takes a Village, an Evansville-based no-kill organization. Alley Cat Allies will have the right to perform a non-binding inspection before the shelter reopens and once the facility is operational.
• Approved use of the Courthouse Auditorium by the Association for a Better Rockport (ABR) for a Christmas program on December 7.
• Approved a road closure request from Mariah Hill Foundation to close CR 675 E from CR 1910 N to CR 1930 N from 5 p.m. August 9 until 6 p.m. August 11 for their annual picnic.
• Commissioner Seiler praised the EMA, Sheriff’s Office, and all others who responded in managing a lightning strike at the County jail. “I have to give compliments out to everybody that jumped in,” Seiler said, “in an emergency situation to get accomplished what you all got accomplished was very remarkable. We owe you all a thank you.”
The next meeting of the Spencer County Commissioners will be a special meeting on July 24 to review a change order on the new multi-agency building project. The next regular meeting of the Spencer County Commissioners will be held August 2 at 2 p.m. at the Courthouse in Rockport.