by Kate Shunney
Two of three Morgan County Commissioners voted last week to shift the county’s phone systems from landlines to a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system next spring.
Commissioners Sean Forney and Bill Clark approved a proposal from Document Solutions to transition phones in the courthouse, Sheriff’s Department and other county offices to the VOIP system, which is supposed to be up and running as of April 1, 2022.
Commission President Joel Tuttle recused himself from the vote and discussion on December 1 because he works for Document Solutions as a salesman.
That was the only company to respond to a request for proposals about the VOIP system.
Commissioners considered two bids from Document Solutions.
Under the first proposal, the county would pay a one-time fee of $71,682 for hardware and equipment, then pay a $3,030 monthly fee for the system.
The second proposal, which county officials chose to go with, will cost the county $3,866 per month for the first three years, then $3,030 per month after that.
Commissioner Clark said the county had already budgeted for the phone system change-over.
“It’s obvious we need the equipment,” he said.
County Administrator Stefanie Allemong said the monthly phone cost will be a drop from what the county currently pays for phone lines in various offices and buildings. She said the county’s monthly phone bill adds up to approximately $8,000 per month.
In response to questions from The Morgan Messenger about the VOIP phone systems, county officials confirmed that county office phones will be dependent upon internet service, and if there is an internet outage, county phones may not work.
Commissioner Forney said his company uses the VOIP platform and has rarely suffered a loss of phone service.
Allemong said Document Solutions’ proposal includes a 4G “failover” – a backup phone service in case of outage.
Courthouse and other county office phones have suffered from periodic outages and glitches.