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Brooksville, county reach computer deal

BROOKSVILLE — In another move toward the further consolidation of local resources, Brooksville has reached an agreement with Hernando County to transfer the maintenance of its computer and network services.

Brooksville will pay the county $60,000 a year for computer network administration and "help desk support," according to a pair of proposals approved earlier this week by the City Council and the County Commission. The fee will help offset some of the county's general fund money needed to fund its Technology Services Department.

The agreement was touted by city and county officials as a smart cost-cutting measure and proof of continued cooperation between the governmental bodies.

"It's going to save both the city and county taxpayers," said Garry Allen, Hernando County's technical services director. "It's better, faster and cheaper."

"The city taxpayers are county taxpayers," added Brooksville City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha, who was at the commission meeting Tuesday. "We're certainly happy to be moving forward with our cooperative efforts."

The agreement follows moves earlier this year by Brooksville to transfer police and fire dispatch services to the Sheriff's Office and the creation of a mutual aid pact between the Brooksville Fire Department and Hernando County Fire Rescue that is expected to create more streamlined responses to emergencies.

Norman-Vacha and other city officials began pursuing a deal with the county after learning that the city had few alternative procedures in place to protect files, databases and records in case of a disaster; the city didn't have the necessary security measures to protect the computer network; and the city's virus protection had been repeatedly compromised and was woefully outdated, among other concerns.

In the agreement, the city will eliminate two full-time positions, network operations supervisor and computer systems specialist. The positions are budgeted for about $92,000 in salary and benefits next year. Thus, the move could save the city about $32,000.

"This (agreement) puts us about 10 to 15 years ahead of where we are today," Norman-Vacha said. "It's a new way of thinking."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or at (352)754-6120.

Brooksville, county reach computer deal 05/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 4:54pm]
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