West Virginia County to Invest $400K in Tech Upgrades

The Monongalia County Commission approved a bid totaling nearly $400,000 from the Maryland-based company Mavenspire Inc. on Wednesday that will streamline the county’s information technology setup.

by Ben Conley, The Dominion Post / December 2, 2019
Shutterstock/Pavel Ignatov

(TNS) — The Monongalia County, W.V., Commission approved a bid totaling $399,900 on Wednesday that will streamline the county’s information technology setup.

The bid, from Mavenspire Inc., based in Annapolis, Md., will provide the county with data center hardware, installation, training, disaster recovery and extended warranty protections.

“We’re like many IT departments across the country in the kind of problems we face,” IT Coordinator Jeff Welsh explained. “The main problem we face, I think, is something we call server sprawl. We’ve got servers in eight-plus locations.”

This expenditure, Welsh said, will allow the county to consolidate its servers into two locations — a main server cluster in the county courthouse, and a second disaster recovery site located in another building.

“It will streamline IT operations and reduce operating costs — less machines, less electricity,” Welsh explained. “It will improve disaster recovery and allow for faster server provisioning, meaning I can help the departments quicker if they approach me with a project. I can create a server for them within minutes.”

In other county news, MJ Zink, director of the Monongaila County Youth Services Center, asked for and received the commission’s blessing to overhaul the kitchen in the county-owned building, which is located off Elmer Prince Drive.

Zink explained that the agency has about $20,000 set aside for the work, which will include new cabinets and drawers as well as a change in the layout of the space.

“We don’t have any space. We don’t have a pantry,” Zink said, noting many of the cabinets were broken when she took the job six years ago.

Zink explained that the center is the home for 10 youths between the ages of 12 and 18 and has 16 employees.

“So 16 staff and 10 kids. We provide three meals and snack, so that’s 26 people in and out of there each day,” she said, adding “It’s also these kids’ home, so I try to make it as nice as I can for them and provide that family space for them.”

While Zink said the $20,000 put aside by the center will cover the cost to purchase and install the new cabinetry, the commission said it would welcome a request to assist with any additional projects needed.

“My question, I guess, would be is there anything additional that the commission could help you with if you were to request it? I feel that we would welcome that,” Commissioner Ed Hawkins said. “What you do is exemplary.”

Also on Wednesday, the commission voted to amend its vehicle lease agreement with Merchants Fleet Management. The change will essentially prevent the county from charging itself property taxes.

“This is something we’ve been talking about since we started down this road leasing our vehicles, but we never really could get a straight answer from anybody on whether they could or should be taxed,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said.

The amendment will stipulate that vehicles under lease to the county will be titled to the county, exempting them from property taxes.

Sikora explained that the county’s last bill from Merchants included $10,556 in property taxes on 25 vehicles — 23% of which ended up being allocated back to the county.

“It was ridiculous. We were taxing ourselves,” Hawkins said. “But it took us three years to get it sorted out.”

Lastly, the commission set February 3, 5, 7, 18 and 20 as the dates it will convene as the 2020 Board of Review and Equalization.

©2019 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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