WILLIAMSON – Several agenda items were addressed at a regular meeting of the Williamson Utility Board (WUB) was held Thursday, February 9.
All WUB members were present. WUB member Larry Rosen acted as Chairperson Pro-Tem in the absence of acting Chairperson Robert Carlton.
The WUB voted to approve changing the board’s regular meeting time from 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Prior to the vote, WUB member Larry Rosen explained that the later meeting time would better coincide with the member’s schedules. The later meeting time will be effective at the next regular meeting.
WUB members voted to re-appoint Lil Felix, Water Department Manager, as WUB Secretary for 2017. WUB member Lacy Muncy was also reappointed to serve as WUB Treasurer for 2017.
Following the recommendation of Veolia Project Manager, Jason Allen, WUB members voted to approve hiring Engineer E. L. Robinson regarding repairs needed at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
The discussion then turned to the replacement of the telephone system in the Williamson Water Office. After reviewing the proposals, the WUB approved to purchase the phone system proposal from Fortinet.
WUB members were presented with three options concerning the telephone system. “The one we are using is basically an antiquated system. They have no feature that an office would need to forward calls or put calls on hold, there is no intercom available between the phones and it is pretty old. We already have the lines in place and there have been three quotes,” Rosen stated.
The first proposal discussed was from American Business Machines. Rosen explained the second proposal stating, “It includes six handsets for a total of $6,495. That price includes the six phones, PBX switch and initial set up. I am assuming that the wiring in place is sufficient to use. This isn’t in the quote but through prior dealings with these types of systems, there are also monthly or annual licensing fees for the system itself for upgrades. I haven’t asked how much there is but there is normally a fee.”
The second proposal was from Mid Atlantic Business Communications. “This one has the features that they need. The caller identification is equipped with the display and includes voicemail, four phones, one combo station, wall mounting kit, programming, installation, shipping and a one year warranty,” Rosen stated. The cost of the Mid Atlantic Business Communication proposal was $3,395 and was available to lease. “The same thing applies there even with the lease; there would be a licensing fee,” Rosen explained.
Rosen then discussed the third proposal. “I asked Lil to get a quote on a system that I have used before in other facilities I have worked in from a company called Fortinet. That system would include the enterprise gateway which an IP that would handle 20 extensions for incoming lines and the phones are the business lines with up to six lines; each line has voicemail, caller id, call waiting, a privacy function, intercom, and paging. The price for the system and four phones is $1,641.68 and if she added an extra phone the cost would come in under $2,000. This is readily available on the open market and changes can be made to the system at the office itself without having to call a technician. I will do the installation free of charge. There is no licensing fee or anything like that all of the programs are open source and free,” Rosen said.
WUB member Lacy Muncy motioned to approve purchasing the proposal from Fortinet. The motion was approved unanimously.
The WUB also voted to hire a local attorney for representation. Rosen approached the topic stating, “Right now, for everything we do, we use Robert Rodecker, who is a public commission type of attorney and his rates are very high. No matter what we do, if we send him an email or call him on the phone we get charged. We are not looking to replace him as our attorney for the public service commission. We are looking for someone that we can have here locally to represent the utility board in cases which do not represent anything we have to do with the public service commission.”
WUB member Lacy Muncy made a motion for Williamson attorney Nathan Brown to provide local representation for the Williamson Utility Board. “It is my understanding that we wouldn’t be hiring him as a retainer type hiring; we would be hiring him at the hourly rate as needed,” Rosen stated. The WUB voted unanimously to approve the motion.
The next meeting of the Williamson Utility Board will be held in Council Chambers at Williamson City Hall Thursday, February 23 at 4:00 p.m.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)