The phone system in the Sampson County Social Services building has periods of time when it is non-operational, and because of the nature of calls that come into the department, administrative staff are requesting the commissioners approve the purchase of a new phone system.
According to Sarah Bradshaw, director of DSS, the current phone system is dated, having been installed nine years ago. In that time, she added, the phone system is down frequently, especially following heavy rains and storms.
“Following Hurricane Matthew, we had problems with the phone system, and they wasn’t the time we needed to experience problems,” Bradshaw shared with commissioners during the budget planning session last week. “I often worry about who tried to call us and didn’t call back.”
The service provider and county information technology staff have indicated that the age of the system creates obstacles for rapid repair, and maintenance on the system will no longer be available after 2018.
“DSS operations cannot afford to lose phone service,” Bradshaw added.
Estimated cost for the new phone system is $25,786, which includes the cost of 182 phones, two headsets, hardware and installation. A 50 percent reimbursement from the state will be given to the agency.
The monthly phone service rate will also change. Now costing the county $2,071 per month, service will decrease and save the county $68 a month.
The Board of Commissioners previously approved the purchase of 70 computers with the Zero/Thin Client equipment. This computer allows staff to use the device remotely and easily carry the equipment out in the field.
According to Bradshaw, the county’s IT staff has reported that this equipment is needed throughout the DSS agency in order to more efficiently keep computers operational.
The department is requesting the purchase of 30 additional Zero/Thin Client computers, 15 to be used by the child support staff and 15 to be used by Work First and administrative staff. The total cost for the computers is $10,516, with a total reimbursement of $4,417 from the state.
In July 2017, Bradshaw said the department will launch NCFAST for child welfare. At this time, laptops with data will be needed. Bradshaw requested the purchase of 40 Microsoft Surface Pro laptops, with a docking station, for the staff to use both in the field and office. The total cost, before a 40 percent reimbursement, is $53,360.
The net cost to the county is $49,326, of which is all covered in the DSS budget, with no additional funds needed from the county.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.