Barton town board discuss county shared service project

The Barton town board discussed authorizing starting the development of Tioga County’s shared service initiative project at Monday’s meeting.

BARTON — The Barton Town Board approved to start authorizing the county’s shared services initiative project within the town and the purchase of property on Old Barton Road on Monday.

Douglas J. Camin, Tioga County’s Chief Information Officer, answered questions from the board and discussed the proposed plan for the shared service system

Towards the end of last year, Camin came to the town board to discuss including the Town of Barton in the shared service initiative.

The Town of Barton approved a resolution to submit a letter of approval last summer, but the board did not approve being involved in the shared service initiative, according to Camin.

The Town of Owego, Town of Barton, Village of Waverly and Village of Nichols were the four municipalities that the IT department of Tioga County submitted for a shared service grant from New York State.

Tioga County was awarded around $210,000 from the grant to initiate the shared service system with these four municipalities.

“We did a cost analysis as part of the grant originally, (and) based on your size there would be some small on-going savings from your IT operations. But the big thing that comes up front is that the state essentially pays for all the inventory and equipment that brings the shared services together,” Camin explained. “So that includes any new computers that are necessary across everything here, any new network equipment, an entirely new phone system.”

With the shared service initiative, the county will handle any IT operations of the town.

“Broadly speaking, you’re going to get a bunch of new equipment probably somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000 worth of equipment at no cost, all paid for from the state grant that’s already authorized,” Camin said.

The change in the systems at Barton will take four to six months, according to Camin. If the board approves and gets the process started by this month, the town could be on the county shared service system by the end of the year or earlier next year.

The Town of Barton is in need of system upgrades as they’re still running on Windows 7 for the network servers, which will not be available after January 2020.

“There’s a lot of avoided costs here,” Camin said. “I would say to the upside for the town is you’re looking at avoided costs of about $20,000 to $30,000.”

Town Clerk Joan Richards mentioned that she would like the new system up and running before tax season.

Deputy Town Supervisor Donald Foster asked if the town had to “put up any money for this project?”

Camin said there would be a 10 percent match, but the match for the town would be funded through the grant.

Board member Kevin Everly asked if the involved municipalities in this first phase of the project would go online at the same time?

The new systems will be staggered, with the Village of Owego going online first. The Village of Waverly was supposed to be second to be online, but the “make-ready costs for Waverly came out a little high,” and the cost structure is being changed, which has extended the construction of Waverly’s new system.

Camin expects that Barton’s new phone system would be operating before the Village of Waverly due to the current cost issues of the village.

Camin asked if the board would approve a resolution to authorize the town supervisor to review and sign off on any necessary shared service agreements.

“I think we should rule on it because we don’t want to go into (the shared service system) late and we might get into next year and it would be nice to have this place (updated),” Supervisor Leon “Dick” Cary said.

Foster asked if there was a “plan B” if the shared service project failed in Barton or if the town could back out of the project later on? Camin stated that the town always had Pyramid, the outside vendor for the network systems.

A town resident also asked a few questions about the shared service project, first asking with the current projects in the Village of Owego if they had run into any issues or concerns so far. Camin stated that they haven’t as of yet.

“We did a pretty in-depth analysis last year as part of the grant application process,” Camin explained. “I came on site, I surveyed all the computers, we actually surveyed the phones, we’re not flying blind coming into this.”

The resident also asked about the transition timeframe and how the conversion to the new system would go down? Camin explained that the transition will more than likely take a full day and that the town can continue to use the same system programs and software that the town has been using, for example the water/sewer billing software.

“So, your water/sewer billing software, if it’s different then the town of Owego’s, it’s not like we’re like ‘oh everybody’s got to use the same thing because you’re on the county’s stuff now’,” Camin explained. “You’ll continue to use all the things that you’re currently using.”

The board passed a resolution to approve and authorize the town supervisor to review and execute the shared service initiative agreement to allow the county to provide IT services for the town.

The board also discussed the purchase of property on Old Barton Road from Tioga County. The property the town is hoping to purchase will need to be cleared of any garbage and debris. The property “is floodplain, it’s worthless land (and) it’s a mess with trash everywhere,” and there is a destroyed double wide trailer on the property, according to the town board.

Cary stated that the town sent a money offer to the county for the property and that the county accepted it.

“We sent them a check already and the only thing we have to do is our attorney record would have to record the sale of the property,” Cary stated.

“I think in the interest of proper procedure here we should probably authorize that,” Everly said.

Foster asked how much the town would be spending on the property. Cary stated that the property was $1,650 and that the purchase of the property would be approved by the county sometime this month.

The town attorney and Foster stated that there should be a resolution drawn up to approve the purchase of the property.

The board approved for a resolution to be drawn up to purchase the property on Old Barton Road for $1,650.

The board also announced that an engineer from McFarland Johnson Inc. will be down to survey West Pine Street on Wednesday at 9 a.m., following the concerned letter from the Village of Waverly’s Board of Trustees.

Jen Rodriguez can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 229 or Follow Jen on Twitter @JrodriguezMt.

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