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New phones will save county money

Upgrades will shave more than $ 1,000 off monthly bill

Work has begun on the installation of a new phone system at the Sheriff’s Department which will save the county over $42,000 a year on its phone bill.

Sheriff Mike Allen told the Quorum Court that AT& T got the contract to replace about 63 land lines.

The old phones were old and out of date and did not allow calls to be transferred to other lines in the building.

The new system cost $46,607 and is an IP Voice Over system which provides voice and data services over a single, secure Internet connection.

The system allows users to manage their call preferences, voice mail, contacts, call history and more from any landline, phone, or personal computer.

Allen said the system will lower the monthly phone bill from $4,851 a month to $3,510 a month.

“It will basically pay for itself the first year,” Allen said.

The money to replace the phone system was already budgeted for and will come out of the sheriff’s department equipment, facilities, and communications budget which is paid for through process serving fees and a portion of the jail telephone system and commissary fees.

“So it is not coming out of the county’s general fund,” Allen said.

County Judge Woody Wheeless said he is also considering replacing the phones at the courthouse with the same system.

“We can do the same thing in the courthouse,” Wheeless said. “It would cost us about $80,000 though because we don’t have the fiber optic cable.”

Wheeless said the county currently spends about $4,000 a month on its phones. The new system would cut that cost to about $1,300 a month.

“It may be something you want me to put some information

together to bring to you,” Wheeless said.

By Mark Randall