By Jacob Mathias
Technology upgrades at the cost of nearly $110,000 will soon be installed at City Hall.
A new computer server structure and phone system was approved to be purchased and installed by the City of Wisconsin Rapids Finance and Property Committee at its meeting on December 8.
The two new digital storage servers come in at a cost of $42,977 and will be purchased from Wausau-based RMM Solutions. The city currently has six physical servers between about seven and 11 years old which city network technician Jason DeMarco said is at or beyond the normal lifespan of a server.
“This option will give us nearly twice the current storage,” said DeMarco. “It will give us enough slots in the storage unit to expand storage at a later date, if the need arises.”
Many of the servers also run Windows Server 2003, an operating system which is no longer being serviced by Windows as of July 2015. All the servers except one will be replaced by the two new purchases.
DiMarco said parts of the city’s digital storage could be moved to a cloud storage system but for security reasons, some files such as confidential police reports need to remain on a physical, secure server within city offices.
The phone upgrades come at a cost of 66,564.89 and includes all new phone equipment and installation. The city’s current phone system, installed about 20 years ago, is a dated Centrex system which consists of two copper wires coming into the building for each phone. They then run through the walls to their proper location.
“Not only is this an outdated, near end-of-life technology, our provider Solarus is moving away from supporting it,” he said.
Solarus has reduced the number of copper lines they have in the ground so during heavy rains, the fire stations have outages or static in their lines. DeMarco said staying with this system is not an option.
The new phone system will be fiberoptic instead of copper and serviced by Solarus and run on their cloud-based Cisco phone system. Solarus will handle all service to the system. The city is entering a seven year contract for services with Solarus at a cost of $6,136 per month, about $238 more per month than the old service.
“Any increase is a bit of a challenge but we’ve gotten really close to where we should be at,” said Mayor Zachary Vruwink.
City Finance Director Tim Desorcy said the upgrades will be funded through the city’s technology budget which has adequate monies to do so.
“We put money aside each year in the annual budget for the replacement of those,” he said.
The next meeting of the Finance and Property Committee will be held January 5 at 5:00 PM.