Stillwater News Press

March 13, 2013

County to start phone system switchout on Monday

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Residents may not notice a difference when they call the Payne County Administration Building, but county offices should be able to work more efficiently after the less-expensive phone system is installed, Commission Chairman Chris Reding said.

County officials continue to finalize details of the change. Reding said he hopes the transition can be completed between Monday and Wednesday.

“We are in the process of getting the logistics together,” Reding said.

Payne County commissioners authorized the phone system upgrade at its Feb. 11 meeting. It offers a variety of services, including voice mail and the ability for county emergency management personnel to provide recorded disaster updates, that are unavailable with the system in use.

The phone service also is expected to save the county approximately $2,000 a month, and could pay for itself within a year, said Geoff Beasley of Beasley Technology.

The initial installation cost was estimated at $9,500, which was below the requirement to seek competitive bidding. Reding said he obtained quotes from Beasley Technology and a firm based in New York. Beasley’s quote was the lowest.

At Monday’s budget board meeting, County Treasurer Bonita Stadler questioned Reding about the new phone system. The $9,500 quote included basic handsets, Stadler said. Her office wanted to upgrade to a wireless handset that could be used away from a desk.

Payne County Election Board Secretary Alyson Dawson and County Clerk Glenna Craig also expressed interest in wireless handsets.

Dawson said she was surprised at the additional cost, which she said she thought was close to $500 apiece.

The cost of wireless handsets surprised Reding as well. The cost is $450 minus a $15 per phone discount, making the final cost $435 a handset, he said.

Stadler also wanted more feedback from Reding.

The upgrade was mentioned at the January Budget Board meeting, and finalized without any input from the county’s other elected officials.

Communication could have been better, Reding said.

“I didn’t do a great job of keeping the Budget Board up to speed,” he said.