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New phone network could save county a bundle of money

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

A change in Clay County’s phone and Internet network at the Sheriff’s Office, courthouse and other county buildings could save the government entity almost $1,200 per month, said Ripley Tate of Web Fire Communications on Monday. It was a statement that drew the interest of county commissioners.

The company got a good look at what has become a hodgepodge of wiring and connections while diagnosing an issue with the Internet service at the sheriff’s office.  The facility is connected with the library, the courthouse and Henrietta City Hall through underground wiring. The phone network’s main switchboard is located inside city hall, which is partially owned by the county and once served as the county jail.

The county currently uses AT&T for Internet service and NTS Communications for phones.

Tate said that with upgrades to the network, which would include moving the main board to the present-day sheriff’s office, Web Fire could cut the county’s phone and Internet bill from $1,900 per month to approximately $750 per month, an estimated savings of $13,800 per year.

“As you know, networks, over time, get piecemealed together,” said Tate of system before providing a schematic of proposed changes and add-ons to the network.

He said the upgraded network would require a new phone system. The total cost of the phones, phone system and installation would be approximately $17,000. Tate offered commissioners a lease-purchase option at $350 per month over five years. But commissioners leaned toward paying for the system and installation up front, seeing additional savings. With interest over the payout period, the system and installation would end up costing about $21,000. Installation would take about two weeks.

Judge Kenneth Liggett suggested commissioners table the item, allowing time to discuss the possible upgrade with the library staff and Emergency Management Coordinator Kent Neville, who offices in city hall.

Commissioners will continue discussions on the issue in their March 12 meeting.

In other business, commissioners approved an emergency budget amendment, changing the pay grade of the secretary to the county attorney from part time to full deputy 2 salary.

Commissioners approved the execution of a small purchase procurement record on behalf of the Charlie WSC, allowing an additional water service line at a cost of $590. The funds are available because the water line project came in under budget. The project was paid for through a grant administered by Clay County.

Also approved was a resolution allowing Justice of the Peace Jim Humphrey to apply for a $110,000 Juvenile Justice Grant from Nortex.

Commissioners also approved the release of securities in the amount at $746,000 pledge to secure Clay County’s depository accounts with Legend Bank, as well as a new security in the amount of $820,000 to Frost Bank; bring the county’s total pledges to $12.7 million.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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