County board saves $10,000 by meeting on New Year's Eve

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.comA five-minute meeting on New Year’s Eve saved Rowan County $10,000 on a computer upgrade project.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners held a special session Wednesday morning to approve a contract with Yorel Integrated Solutions for an upgrade of the IBM AS 400 810 computer system.
Yorel submitted the low bid for the project at $150,659.
But the company offered to drop the price another $10,000 if county officials approved the contract before the end of 2008.
Carl Ford, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, decided saving $10,000 was incentive enough for a special session.
The final price of $140,659 was far less than the $215,000 the county budgeted.
David Boling, director of Information Systems, noted the upgrades are required every four to five years. And they have gotten cheaper each time.
Initially, the upgrade cost around $4000,000. Two years ago, it dropped to $250,000.
Boling said if the county sticks with the AS400 system, the cost of the next upgrade might drop to $75,000.
Vice Chairman Jon Barber asked how much longer the IBM computer system from the late 1980s will be viable.
Boling said the county may eventually have to find another platform, but he went on to cite the complexities in getting something to operate the software needed for finance, taxes and Social Services.
Boling noted tax software is very specialized, with different states utilizing different systems.
Agreeing with Commissioner Chad Mitchell’s motion, the board voted unanimously to approve the contract with Yorel.
The contract includes a three-year maintenance agreement.