Experiencing frequent interruptions in service, even daylong
outages of all phones at the Logan County Courthouse, the board
voted 11-0 in September to make the purchase from Frontier that
would upgrade the phone system with Mitel at an initial cost of
The new system offers more current technology advantages,
including VoIP. The numbers of lines and services currently provided
by duplicate technology would also be reduced, providing better
service and at a monthly savings in costs.
The phones arrived in October and attempts were made to install.
However, it has been determined that the old wiring is in too poor a
condition to use.
Speaking for the committee, Kevin Bateman said that they had
received a bid of $10,439 from Viscon for parts and wiring for every
phone, "80 drops" in the new phone system. This includes the phones
in the Logan County Courthouse, highway department, airport and John
Bateman continued with his next motion, saying that Viscon
submitted a bid of $8,095 for labor that included termination and
labeling of the raceway wall for the installation of the new phone
Several board members, including Andy Anderson, Rick Aylesworth
and Bill Martin, questioned if this was an expected expense, if the
changes were necessary, and if the county could afford it at this
Bateman said the added expenses were not anticipated. Finance
chair Chuck Ruben added that what was discovered and is being
proposed was "not unacceptable."
In the third motion, Bateman explained that Viscon has agreed to
one more provision in the installation process, which could involve
the use of other sources. As needed, Viscon would either supervise
volunteers or other laborers, or perform all the labor of wiring for
the installation, at a cost not to exceed $10,000.
The cable, parts and installation costs add roughly another
$30,000 to the $48,000 decided on in September, which was just for
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It was also noted that these costs do not include any maintenance
contracts for phone, Internet or other integrated technology
Reflecting on the decision made in September, David Hepler said:
"I feel the people who were here should have told us what was
foreseeable, as they do this all the time, even if it was with
another vendor. I'm not pleased with it."
Bateman shifted the focus back to Viscon. He made several
statements reiterating that he was not happy with the influence
being exercised by that company.
Viscon services Internet for the county buildings.
"I think Viscon is going to find fault in anything we do,"
Bateman said. "I don't know why we're so strong-armed with them."
In response to questions from Anderson, Bateman said: "We have no
choice at this point. Like Pam (Meagher) said, the phones are
waiting to be installed."
He further agreed that this cost was unexpected, but "I still
would have voted to do it (purchase the phone system)," he said. "We
are so far into the Stone Age, and this work prepares us for the
Three board members were absent for the evening: Terry Carlton,
Andrew Meister and Jan Schumacher.
In a straw vote, it appeared as though all three motions to
contract with Viscon would pass at the adjourned session on Tuesday.
[By JAN YOUNGQUIST]
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