Phone system upgrades approved

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

At a recent meeting at the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, the board approved a proposal from Kinex Telecommunications in Farmville to upgrade the phone system serving the local county offices.

“This phone system is not only for the courthouse, but it’s to replace the phone systems in the Circuit Clerk’s Office, the Treasurer’s Office, the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office, the Administrative Office and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office,” said Project Superintendent Tim Burge.

According to Burge, all of the phone systems the county currently has in place are outdated. “They’re probably 40 years old,” he said.

Burge said a request for proposal (RFP) was put out to gather bids for replacing the new system and 20 responses were received from 15 vendors.

From those vendors, Burge said the results were narrowed down to three candidates who received interviews. However, Kinex was recommended based on having existing fiber, the quality of equipment, ability to complete the project in a timely manner, the company is local and the price was next to the lowest bid.

“Kinex has all the existing fiber in the area here and are willing to add more fiber if they need it to take care of making all these buildings work together under one phone system,” said Burge.

Kinex is proposing a price of $66,441.53 to complete the project, with an additional $700-1,000 a month for phone service, depending on the number of simultaneous calls being required, Burge said.

“This number includes setting up the phone system and whatever is needed to make the system work for the county,” he said.

The price also includes a one-year warranty, which according to Burge, would include updates to software and maintenance.

After the first year, a $250 per month fee would be charged to keep the system updated.

He said other prices from the RFP included vendors with prices ranging from $35,000 with no service included upward of $200,000.

“This is why we’re recommending them,” Burge said. He said the county would start out with 30 phone lines.

Aspen/Phenix Supervisors Donna Fore asked if the county would be buying or leasing the phone equipment to which Burge responded the county was buying the equipment.

“So we’re buying phone equipment?” said Fore.

Additionally, Fore asked about the updating schedule for the phone systems. “Technology changes annually, so you would hate to have these phones sit here for 10 years and not have any upgrades provided to them,” she said.

Burge said upgrades would be done to the phone system as they become available.

“It does sound like a reasonable amount to spend on a system we need . . .,” Fore said.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni said it would be a cost savings on a monthly basis.

“This is not a part of the construction of that building,” said County Administrator R.B. Clark, referencing the county’s new courthouse. “It’s necessary and we have to do it, but it is separate and that’s why the board is looking at it separately.”