Citing Savings Potential, Normal, Ill., IT Plans for Tech Overhaul

In a flurry of other city business, officials started to plot the shift from city-owned servers to the cloud.

by Derek Beigh, The Pantagraph / August 21, 2018
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(TNS) — NORMAL, Ill. — As Normal officials saved $100,000 in routine costs Monday, they're also starting to look forward to the next fiscal year.

After Normal City Council approved a smaller-than-expected increase to health insurance costs, saving $55,000, and a new technology setup, saving another $45,000, City Manager Pam Reece said department heads are beginning to plan their expenses for the year starting April 1, 2019.

"We're just starting work. We usually start in mid-August, and department heads submit their estimates in October," she said. "It's a long process."

Town leadership had a difficult budget process for this fiscal year, raising fees and cutting employees and services to address a $4 million deficit, but Monday's action brought a little relief.

Reece noted the 2 percent increase in health insurance costs expected Jan. 1 under Normal's agreement with broker The Horton Group is not only lower than the 8 percent budgeted but also beats the 9 percent and 8.9 percent increases the town paid in the last two fiscal years.

"Next council meeting (Sept. 4), (Finance Director) Andrew (Huhn) is going to do his annual financial trends analysis and show how the health fund has looked over the past 10 years and how we expect it to look in the future," said Reece. "We have drawn down our fund balance a bit, but we're still in good shape for our group size, and we're comfortable."

In technology, the town will move some services from its own computer server to one owned and operated by Superion, LLC, through the cloud. Normal currently spends about $154,000 on software maintenance and server replacement that will be replaced by a $110,000 lease agreement.

"There are additional indirect costs such as backup tapes, electricity and personnel-related expenses that are difficult to quantify but will be saved by moving the servers to the cloud," according to a memo from Interim Information Technology Director Mindy Dance.

©2018 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.