OWEGO — Elected officials from throughout Tioga County met Wednesday for this year’s second and final discussion of the state-mandated shared services initiative.

Officials discussed the most recent status of the plan submitted last year, which is a consolidated IT services initiative that is expected to take several years to complete.

The initial phase of the plan includes establishing high-speed network connections to the county infrastructure in the towns of Owego and Barton, and villages of Nichols and Waverly. Eventually, municipalities throughout the county will have the quick and easy access to the county’s robust security and IT expertise, as well as periodic hardware upgrades that are included in the cost-saving plan.

County Deputy IT Director Drew Griffin explained that fiber-optic network connections are in place in the Town of Owego, and connectivity will soon be tested.

In Waverly, Griffin said the fiber-optic connection is supposed to be completed by the end of this month, though potential hangups with Pennsylvania Electric may delay finalization into the near future.

Once the network is up and running, he said, they will begin rolling out centrally-connected phone systems and “proceed from there.”

For Barton and Nichols to establish connectivity, the Southern Tier dark fiber network needs to be completed, which is still moving along.

Being that the plan is still in its initial phases, officials opted to not submit a new shared services initiative for next year, thus alleviating the need for additional meetings this year.

However, discussion did resume on a potential future plan – consolidated code enforcement.

The county has applied for grant funds to pay for a possible feasibility study on the matter, in which most municipal leaders expressed interest.

Elected officials discussed nuances of code enforcement within their respective municipalities and whether a county-consolidated structure would potentially be beneficial.

Ultimately, it was agreed that a completed feasibility study would be necessary before any further discussion would take place.

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