Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AJC mistakenly slams Dunwoody on budget expenditure.

The Tuesday online edition of the AJC claimed that the Dunwoody City Council paid more than 10 times what was originally budgeted for a phone & internet network, thereby spending $228,000 vs. the $27,000 allocated.

The first mistake on the item was that the $27,000 allocated by the AJC was inferred that it was the total cost when in fact it was only a one year payment of a multi-year item. At Monday's meeting the city approved a $36,000 first year allocation which was about a $9,000 difference from the $27,000 original budget.

The second misunderstanding was that the original budget estimate was for just a phone system and this item is actually for a top of the line Voice over IP system which shares both voice and data over a single network circuit. This system will be the network backbone for the entire City Hall and Police Station which will allow a robust computer system across the entire city network providing full video access within the facility as well as facilitating data transfers to the police vehicles. The new item includes numerous computer servers and switches which will be used in a redundant and secure computer infrastructure that is a huge enhancement over the original proposal.

This item wasn't new to the City Council since this same item was brought up at last week's meeting for a vote and on upon review the council demanded that the item be competitively bid.

From an operational perspective, I believe this system selected by our staff will serve the city and the police department very well, though at a higher initial cost. I based my decision to vote for this item on the promised monthly savings and performance improvements justifying the change in cost over the original proposal and a very tight time frame to prepare the police station for an April 1st start date. As I said at the meeting, we didn't ask for a Cadillac but that is the proposal we had in front of us and I am hoping and trusting in the staff that it is the right solution.

Audio of the session with full discussion on the matter.

Dunwoody budget - page 28 shows communications.

Cost breakdown of the network solution approved on Monday.

ajc.com > Metro > DeKalb
Phone/Internet costing 10 times Dunwoody’s estimate
Expense is one of several budget miscalculations for the new city

Dunwoody will pay 10 times more than it anticipated for its phone and Internet service — the latest underestimate in its budgeting as Georgia’s newest city.

The city’s inaugural budget calls for $27,000 to be spent on communications at its new city hall. On Monday, though, the City Council OK’d a $228,000 deal for phone and Internet service, plus monthly charges of $8,800 for maintenance and $1,500 for service.


John Heneghan said...

It appears that the City Manager attempted to correct the story for the print edition but it still seems incorrect to me.

Wednesday AJC Print Edition

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

John, what figures are incorrect? One year of $36,000 (even for 10 months) is about $3600/month. Or is it $8,800 for maintenance and $1,500 for service (total of $9,300/mo or $111,600/yr). This may be well worth the money, but clear concise complete data appear to be missing.

Is there a downloadable budget spreadsheet on the Dunwoody website (yet)?

Dunwoody Police Watch Group said...

What about the portion pertaining to the police budget?

John Heneghan said...

Thaddeus, a budget update is coming very soon and I will assure that it is posted on line. As far as an spreadsheet, I believe that should be possible?