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Council meets with Information Services for future budget talks

By LAURA FREEMAN Reporter Published: March 22, 2017 12:00 AM

Department heads began meeting with Council March 14 during a workshop at Town Hall to prepare for budget talks in the fall.

City Manager Jane Howington scheduled the Information Services managers to meet with Council members and review their needs and goals for the coming year.

Information Services Manager Bill Hilbish said he has worked for the city for 13 years and its information technology hardware has grown from 1 GB to 10 GB with 14 servers and Velocity Broadband.

The growth of the fiber utility will require more employees in the future, Hilbish said.

"I'm responsible for 101 customers on Velocity Broadband and 160 by the end of the year," Hilbish said. "That will affect manning in the future."

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Currently the city has three dedicated personnel for Velocity Broadband.

When the city reaches 200 business customers, it will need a broadband field engineer, he said.

One of the major projects for the future will be getting off the school's system to access the internet.

Hilbish said he has established a five-year plan to rotate personal computers for city employees as well as what departments receive new software.

The voice or telephone system is more than five years old, but Hilbish said there may be savings because workers use cell phones instead of desk phones.

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Unified communications using personal computers is in the future, he said.

Hilbish said the city uses different security measures to prevent hacking but it's important to train the users to prevent hacking problems.

Hand in hand with hardware is software for information services.

"Software and technology is always changing, and we need to keep up," said Paul Leedham, chief innovation officer.

Velocity Broadband required the staff to focus on the new utility.

"We hit the pause button on services on the technology and hardware side to adapt for fiber," Leedham said. "It's going well. We did need to assign some roles and duties to do everything we needed to do."

Departments assessed their software and critiqued different types to discuss software options, he said.

Some software can be shared between departments like a business database to track customers for Velocity Broadband which can be used by other customer-related departments.

The city has introduced a ticket system for request for help by information services to track what services and needs the city employee's have, Leedham said.

Another management system keeps the software up to date on mobile devices, he said.

Another goal for the city is to go paperless.

City Manager Jane Howington said the goal began in 2007 to clean up old files by scanning them and entering them into an electronic system for easy access.

"It took 10 years to do it but we're doing it," Howington said.

She said the new goal is to make records accessible directly by the public instead of the city staff looking up the information for request by citizens.

Email: lfreeman

@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter:

@LauraFreeman_RP


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