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Ohio City Council Considers $47,000 Technology Upgrade

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to be online, North Olmsted, Ohio, is considering a proposed $47,000 ordinance for the purchase of more than 275 new computers, expected to pass next month.

person online shopping on keyboard
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(TNS) — Whether it’s a cellphone, laptop or computer, there’s no greater motivation to upgrade technology than the inability to receive any future operating system or software updates.

It turns out to be the latter for North Olmsted, Ohio, regarding a proposed $47,000 ordinance for the purchase of more than 275 new computers city council is expected to pass next month.

“We have the tools and resources to better serve the community, so we’re making sure that we are up to date and up to speed and current with technology,” North Olmsted Network Architect Eric Lundberg said. "The city is currently running an old infrastructure with Dell computers that are roughly five to seven years old.

“One of the biggest issues is the end of Windows 7 support. We’re going to a new Windows server 2019 network architecture that will offer greater benefits running Windows 10. That’ll be better security, better performance, better support and better overall everything.”

The planned upgrade includes the purchase of Intel NUC computers. The small units will be mounted to the back of all monitors, which then provides a zero footprint. Each setup will also have a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The city is also transitioning away from digital analog business system phones.

“We’re incorporating a redundant fiber network across the city campus that will give us added flexibility for our new voice over IP system, as well as data,” Lundberg said.

The upcoming upgrade affects all city departments except for police and fire, which received new technology earlier this year when the city spent $74,000 for 60 devices -- police and fire station NUC workstations and Surface Pro laptops. The latter were installed in police cruisers, as well as fire engines and squads.

North Olmsted Human Resources Department Director Marie Gallo said the city -- as it did for the first responder technology purchase -- plans to borrow funds for the upcoming expenditure.

“In this instance, it was in the city’s best interest to borrow the funds at a very low interest rate and get it done because of security risks with Windows 7,” North Olmsted Director of Finance Carrie B. Copfer said.

“Usually, we replace and upgrade a portion per year or when needed. That is paid for out of operating funds.”

Once approved, Gallo said she expects the city to receive the new computers and equipment fairly quickly.

“We’ll start as soon as possible, but it will take a quarter to get the devices installed,” Lundberg said. "The old unit hard drives will be pulled out and destroyed. The rest of the desktops will go into computer roundup for recycling.

“We may look at donating these to some organization. There are some options for doing so, but a lot of these computers are dying a slow and painful death.”

©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.