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County commissioners agree to 36 month phone agreement


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Dec 27th, 2013
Posted in All Government

Karen Brown addresses the Fillmore County Commissioners from a different perspective at her last meeting as acting county coordinator. Brown’s retirement is effective January 1, 2014 as replacement Bobbie Vickerman assumes her position. Photo by Mitchell Walbridge

Retiring County Coordinator Karen Brown addressed the Fillmore County Commissioners from a different seat at their December 24 meeting. Brown sat before the commissioners while addressing them at her final county board meeting as county coordinator.

In her address, Brown suggested that the commissioners enter into a 36 month agreement with CenturyLink for Primary Rate Interface (PRI) to replace the courthouse’s T1 telephone service. This would allow to update for a digital connection.

Currently, the monthly expense is $1,356.13 plus $17.50 per month for a Direct Inward Dial feature. The proposed new agreement would only be $798.51 per month for the 36 month agreement period and Direct Inward Dial would be free for the first 100 included numbers. There would be an initial one-time charge of $277 with the new agreement however.

Brown’s calculations show that savings per month would be $575.12 or $6,901.44 per year. Although there was another option for a 60 month agreement at $723.51 per month, Brown still recommended the commissioners follow through with the 36 month option.

One of the concerns brought up by Commissioner Duane Bakke was the caller ID feature that comes with the phone service. Bakke stated he was concerned that county employees within the courthouse may screen calls and choose not to answer if they didn’t feel like talking to certain individuals.

Brown stated that she believed employees not answering the phone was highly doubtful. “We’re public servants, what we do is serve people,” Brown said. The caller ID feature will be utilized as a blockade against telemarketers and as a security feature in dealing with threatening callers.

The commissioners approved the 36 month agreement, but made it contingent upon developing a phone answering policy at a future department head meeting.

Brown also brought up the time capsule that was opened at the Courthouse open house in 2005. The commissioners agreed that a display case would be best to install in the courthouse. Over time, additional items could be added. Also, the placement of the two signed shovels signed by local, state and federal officials from the Veterans Cemetery ground breaking was discussed as well as an update on the framing of the renderings of the Veterans Cemetery site and buildings.

Consideration of the renewal of the Independent Contractor Agreement for 2014 with Lisa Stensrud for physical therapy services was tabled for the January 7, 2014 meeting. Discussion over initial visit costs and follow-up visit expenses will be discussed.

Commissioner Bakke gave an update from the highway meeting on the bridge project in Carrolton Township. Bakke said work is to begin January 6, but due to winter weather conditions, the bridge could be closed until April when expected to be work is completed.

To conclude the meeting, replacement County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman recommended the board of commissioners consider a temporary hire for the Information Systems Department to help update the imaging programs on the courthouse computers. The project will take approximately two to three days, which includes training of department employees. The salary cost is not to exceed $650 or 24 hours.

The next Fillmore County Board of Commissioners meeting is January 7, 2014 at 9 a.m.

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