Capital Expenditure Committee Reviews Six-Year Capital Needs of Fire, Assessors, and IT Departments

By Bob Dorer

Capital-ExpendituresAt the October 8 meeting of the Capital Expenditure Committee Fire Chief David Grunes presented the anticipated capital needs of the Fire Department for FY16 through FY21. Chief Grunes noted that for FY 16 only two capital items are anticipated: $69,828 for replacing obsolete receivers and repeaters in the town’s emergency dispatch Fire Channel One and $34,635 for replacing three thermal imaging cameras that are beyond their useful life. He noted that maintaining a fully functional Fire Channel One is critical to ensuring safe and timely emergency responses by the Fire Department. He also explained to the committee that the cameras are key pieces of safety equipment that “look” through dense smoke in fire situations to locate any living entities and aid in locating overheating situations such as electrical wires or equipment. For FY 17 Chief Grunes noted three major planned equipment replacements: Ambulance Two for $224,877 after ten years of service; the breathing air – air compressor for $43,010 after twenty years of service; and Engine One for $547,011 after almost fifteen years of service.

Moving to the Finance / IT capital needs presentation, the committee heard Associate Assessor Stephen Poulos detail the need to upgrade the town’s assessment software from Patriot Systems to the latest release for the Microsoft.Net framework for $25,250. He noted the new software version will provide increased functionality and efficiencies in the department’s operation, including the ability to enter field data directly via mobile applications and to update the database during required database freezes related to certification approvals and more analysis capabilities. Some Committee members expressed concern about replacing the legacy version purchased only six years ago and also about being an early launch customer for this new software version with a limited track record to date. Poulos noted the legacy software has been around for 20 years and is updated on a regular basis but it is not known how much longer Patriot will support the software.

Presenting the remainder of the FY 16 – FY 21 IT capital items Information Systems Manager Sherwood Ives detailed expenditure plans of $102,789 in FY 16 for various IT equipment renewal elements (PCs, printers, laptops, wireless infrastructure, scanners, etc. spread across 15 departments), copier replacements, seven additional document management system licenses, network servers, and a backup network storage array. Committee members probed Ives on the topic of evolving technology and how the changing IT landscape may impact future IT related planned expenditures. They also requested information on how ongoing PC and related needs are assessed and revised as new technology and processes are adopted.

About November’s Special Town Meeting

Finally, in discussing the Special Town Meeting Warrant the committee determined a need to gather further information on Article 13, Town Hall Building Systems Replacement, and voted to make their recommendation on the article at the Special Town Meeting. They are interested in actual multipurpose room usage and more information on potential phasing or reduced scope options for the overall project. Chairman Jon O’Connor noted he will be inviting Facilities Director Taissir Alani and Town Manager Rick Reed to the Capital Expenditure meeting next week (October 15) for further discussion of the article.

Click to read or print the Warrant – Special Town Meeting – November 2014

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