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Cape council mulls major purchases

By Staff | Apr 30, 2012

The city council had a pair of significant purchases, totaling more than $800,000, to ponder during its workshop meeting Monday at city hall.

A Vactor sewer truck and the replacement of the city’s aging computer system was brought to the council for its consideration ahead of next week’s regular council meeting.

The sewer truck, at a cost of $316, 631, would replace the nearly 20-year-old sewer truck the city currently has, and would be paid for through utility reserve funds by piggybacking the city of Tallahassee contract, locking in a lower price.

“The truck we bought in 1994 is in poor condition and can’t be maintained,” said Utilities Firector Jeff Pearson. “The typical service life for this truck is 10-15 years.”

Pearson showed photos of the city’s current truck, which showed signs of rust and other disrepair, and has been used in tandem with TV crews to film the condition of sewer lines.

Pearson said one truck cannot keep up.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said such a truck was scheduled to be bought in 2011 but was pulled for money savings.

“You looked at a standalone, trailer-mounter jetter that was budgeted, but pulled,” Leetz said.

As for piggybacking, Councilmember Derrick Donnell asked if it was necessary.

“A piggyback is a contract in-state to buy equipment. The embedded price is better,” said Victoria Bateman, financial services director. “For common vehicles you could get your own pricing, for something like this, piggybacking is the best choice.”

As for replacement of the city’s computers, IT director John MacLean said all the city’s desktop computers were at least five years old, with 65 percent of them more than seven years old.

Nearly all the city’s laptops and semi-rugged laptops are also at least five years old.

“After 2008, the plan wasn’t funded. Now, we have an aging system,” MacLean said.

To make matters worse, MacLean said the computers work slow and all use Windows XP, which will discontinue support in two years. Microsoft’s current Windows 7 won’t work on the current computers.

The total cost will be more than $509,000 and will be disbursed between May and July, with 200 desktops being the first to be purchased, MacLean said.

The city also would buy 171 semi-rugged laptops, if the measure passed, and MacLean asked for a procurement of $210,000 for four years starting next year which would return the city to a five-year cycle.