County considers doing business with the city

The city of Cairo and Grady County could soon be doing business together.
On Tuesday, Grady County commissioners heard a presentation by Peggy Maddox with CNS representing the CNS system and the city of Cairo.
Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar has been investigating the possibility of switching phone and Internet service to CNS as a cost saving measure.
Tobar is also hoping to link all county offices together via CNS’ fiber optic lines.
“This is a comprehensive move on our part. We need to replace our computer servers, but I haven’t wanted to do that until I knew where the server would be located. We believe this switch to CNS would improve reliability of phone and Internet service. We all know there have been issues at the detention center and sheriff’s office,” Tobar said.
If the county is to make the switch, the board would have to approve the purchase of a phone system that is compatible with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which the current system is not.
The county is currently paying $14,000 annually to lease the current phone system from Windstream Communications.
The CNS proposal presented by Ms. Maddox includes 5,000 minutes of long distance, 50 Mb dedicated Internet and a single entry fiber line coming into the courthouse.
Monthly charges for CNS would be $4,084 for the four-year contract compared to $5,016 per month with Windstream or a savings of $932.56 per month.
Through CNS, Tobar says the county will be able to connect all county offices and eliminate the need for multiple servers at multiple locations.
The CNS bid to build the dedicated fiber service for the courthouse and various county offices is $25,200, but the city of Cairo has agreed to discount that to $10,000.
Tobar is estimating the cost of purchasing a new phone system will be $34,000 the new server would be approximately $11,000.
“We need to look at all of the numbers on both sides to compare. We also need to look at the short-term and long-term impact. This is about the third time we have changed phone systems since I’ve been on the board,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
Commission Chairman T.D. David said while working with private industry he had also opposed investing in the purchase of technology. His preference would be to lease since new technology is constantly being introduced.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton also appeared before the council to make a pitch for the CNS proposal.
“At the city we converted to CNS for our phone service in early 2011. We served as a pilot and we’ve had good service over the last three years and the savings we had projected have been realized. We realized a payback on our investment when we expected. We would love to serve Grady County and love to give you the savings,” Addleton said.
The CNS conversion, if approved, would not include the volunteer fire stations.
Commissioners took no action but requested Tobar to provide additional financial data on the deal prior to the Aug.19 meeting.

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