Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2004

Phone upgrade to connect city departments

September 23, 2004

Calling a Baldwin city department or staff member should not only get a little easier for residents, but for the city employees as well.

Monday night the Baldwin City Council unanimously approved a five-year lease of a new telephone system for the city from Inter-Tel Technologies of Lenexa.

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Council Member Amy Cleavinger said the city needed to upgrade its outdated telephone system in order to provide the best service to Baldwin.

"This is our way and the city staff's way of communicating with folks, and it's very inefficient right now," she said.

Some department heads in attendance at Monday's meeting agreed something needed to be done with the phone system. Assistant Utility Director Bill Winegar told the council that often phones didn't work correctly, if at all.

"We need to do something," Winegar said. "Our phones now don't have all the whistles and bells to save steps."

Baldwin had the option of buying the phone system or leasing it for three, four or five years. The five-year lease was the only one that included additional benefits and extra incentives.

Council Member Nancy Brown said she liked the five-year-lease option for the phone system because of the package it included. She said the phone package included system training for city staff, virus protection, automatic backup, free software upgrades -- which can cost $1,500 to $2,500 a year -- and insurance with no deductible, which will cover any problem with the system or any of its phones.

She said the system would also decrease the number of individual phone lines for the city.

"We would be making phone extensions rather than individual lines," Brown said.

The phone system also allows for voice mail, an intercom system and call transfers among departments, which City Administrator Jeff Dingman said are currently not options with the city's current phones.

Under the lease agreement, Baldwin will pay $602 a month for 60 months, with the first three months free and the next three months at 50 percent the total cost. At the end of the five-year period, the city has the option of extending the lease for another three years at half the cost.

In other business, the city council:

  • Approved in a 5-0 vote to set the city's water rate at $5.50 per 100 cubic feet. That's a 14-cent increase -- 2.6 percent -- from the $5.36 per 100 cubic feet residents had been paying.
  • Approved in a 5-0 vote an 8-percent increase to the city's wholesale customers -- Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4, Wellsville and Edgerton.
  • Approved in a 5-0 vote the appointment of Gary Walbridge to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

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