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TMCNet:  Internet phone net gets a 'no'

[January 18, 2013]

Internet phone net gets a 'no'

COLUMBUS, Jan 18, 2013 (Columbus Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A 10-minute discussion, approving a bill for 19 county computers at about $1,000 a piece.

A 20-minute discussion, rejecting a project for half that amount to extend network services to the courthouse's new building.

The Platte County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday ground to a halt when they reviewed a proposed $10,556 project to extend communication services via a fiber optic line to the courthouse's new building. Specifically, they cited the $6,217 it would cost to connect 12 phone lines from the new building at 1465 27th Ave. to the county's network.

Platte County Emergency Management Director Tim Hofbauer said this specific piece of the bill allows the phones to use Voice over Internet Protocol -- VoIP, as it's commonly known -- a technology that would allow phone calls to be made using an Internet connection.

The call would be made over the fiber line, eliminating the need for separate phone service and its separate bill.

The supervisors, however, still weren't sure the savings were there.

A motion to approve the project failed three votes to four with Supervisors Jim Scow, Ron Pfeifer, Bob Lloyd and Jerry Engdahl opposing. The board instructed Hofbauer to return to their Feb. 12 meeting with another bid featuring separate phone services to be compared with the existing bid.

Early reviews of the bid showed the supervisor's suspicions may have been unfounded. Hofbauer said installing a separate phone system brings the project total to around $11,000 -- that's before the monthly $55 bill.

Supervisor Tom Martens noted additional work needs to be done on the building north of the courthouse to make it handicap accessible.

The $19,721 computer purchase will get machines for six county offices, many of which currently have computers four to six years old. Hofbauer said a few of the computers they replace will be salvaged for parts, but the majority will be destroyed.

Connecting Point will be paid for the purchase using capital funds.

The supervisors also: --approved a Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The policy establishes a disaster plan that makes the county eligible for hazard mitigation funds for safety expenditures like the tornado siren funding requested last summer.

--approved the purchase of a $568 laptop for the county attorney's office for child support enforcement. The purchase will be paid through the county attorney's child support budget.

--adopted a resolution that will advance E-911 consolidation.

--held a closed session to address impending or threatened litigation.

___ (c)2013 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.) Visit the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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