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Move to Cloud Among Maine County’s Security Decisions

Commissioners in Franklin County, Maine, will commit $100,000 from the county’s undesignated fund to an IT reserve fund. During the next 18 months, plans are to migrate a computer server onto the county’s cloud network.

(TNS) — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to go with A3 Communications Inc. to provide security equipment for the county Courthouse.

The cost is $75,570.38 for a five-year contract and the money will come from a Building Reserve Account. The county will get an abatement of $8,000 from A3 Communications.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office received a school violence prevention grant for school districts in the county and A3 Communications is one of the vendors. The company has an office in Maine and divisional headquarters in South Carolina.

Franklin County commissioners also voted to appropriate $520,000 from the county's undesignated fund to put into different reserve accounts.

As of June 30, 2023, the county's undesignated fund was nearly $1.7 million, county Administrator Amy Bernard said.

"To keep within the state-required 20 percent balance in the undesignated fund balance, we need to move these funds into listed reserve accounts," Bernard said.

Of the $520,000:

  • $100,000 will be put in an information technology reserve fund. Over the next 18 months, the county plans to get its computer server into its Cloud network.

  • $40,000 will be for a benefit liability fund. This fund is for use by commissioners to pay for underfunded personnel lines in the budget without burdening taxpayers.

  • $40,000 will be for an unemployment fund. The county is self-funded for unemployment insurance. The past several years the county has had a negative balance for unemployment. "I have recommended we fund this through undesignated funds and continue to budget $5,000 to accumulate in the fund," Bernard wrote in her information for commissioners.

  • $160,000 will be for a Courthouse Reserve Fund. This fund is for the replacement of the courthouse roof and heating system along with upkeep of the building. A3 Communications system gave the county for 10 years at $98,480.38. Bernard recommended they fund this project with an undesignated fund balance.

  • $140,000 will be for a Sheriff Vehicle Reserve Fund. These funds are set aside for future purchases of cruisers. "Last year we reduced the capital outlay by $100,000, however when we rotate through and need five cruisers these funds will be needed. The sheriff asked for an additional $40,000 in his budget this year and I moved it to the reserve to be funded by undesignated fund balance," Bernard wrote.

  • $40,000 is to establish a Sheriff Equipment Reserve Fund. Bernard recommended the county establish a designated reserve fund to assist with buying camera systems for deputies and cruisers, along with guns, tasers, body armor and other equipment. These costs are not included in the Sheriff's Office budget.

"The last time we purchased body and cruiser cameras for the Sheriff's Office, it was over $120,000. Those cameras are now 18 months old and are expected to be obsolete in another three years. This is why I recommend we use undesignated funds to save for these purchases," Bernard wrote in her report to commissioners.

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