News Column

Sweeping computer upgrades coming for county

August 13, 2014

By Kelly Quimby, The Brunswick News, Ga.



Aug. 13--The Glynn County Finance Committee Tuesday unanimously voted to recommend a $460,000 upgrade to county computer hardware, part of a much larger expense program to update the government's information technology holdings.

Finance committee members had no questions or comments about the expense, which is expected to begin this year and continue over the next two fiscal years as well.

Glynn County Administrator Alan Ours said that while finance committee members had little to say on the topic this week, the subject has been the center of many discussions among county commissioners during the past year.

Ours said he expects Glynn County to spend about $3.6 million on its technology upgrades when all is said and done.

In a memo to finance committee members, IT Director John Catron reported the funds approved Tuesday will cover the replacement of 22 servers, 25 network switches, 100 computers and tablets, the county's private wireless network controller and its network monitoring system at nearly every county office. Catron said the upgrade will improve system speed at the county's remote office buildings.

In November, representatives of Portland, Maine-based BerryDunn recommended the county spend about $2.4 million over five years to replace outdated hardware, the majority of which dates back to 2000 and 2003 versions. In addition, the firm reported that maintenance contracts for the server's hardware had lapsed and extended support for most of the systems ended this year.

The assessment indicated the outdated technology in the county's inventory is "severe."

"It is apparent from the documentation provided that the county has not followed a technology replacement policy in some time," the assessment read. "Upgrading ... is likely to be difficult. There will likely be no simple path."

Ours said the county government could not function without technology in the modern age, though the economic recession of recent years forced departments to put off necessary upgrades. Now that the economy seems to be rebounding, Ours said it's time to move forward with upgrades.

"Our financial systems, our building systems, our court systems, our assessment tools, are all technology driven," Ours said. "To go along with our mission statement and be a premier coastal community requires that we have up-to-date technology."

The Glynn County Commission approved the cost to implement the first year of BerryDunn study recommendations with its 2014-2015 budget in June.

In addition Tuesday, the finance committee voted unanimously to recommend spending $32,000 for a cost estimate and initial design of sidewalks at McKenzie Road, Southport Parkway and U.S. 341. Public works director Dave Austin said an engineer will draw up preliminary designs and estimate the full cost to install the sidewalks around Risley Middle and Satilla Marsh Elementary schools.

The costs could range from $1.7 million to $2.5 million, public works officials said, and the design along U.S. 341 will require the approval of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

-- Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at kquimby@thebrunswicknews.com, or at 265-8320, ext. 321.

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(c)2014 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)

Visit The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) at www.thebrunswicknews.com

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Source: Brunswick News (GA)


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