Morgan County Commissioners Hear Updates For IT at County Buildings

By Benjamin Cox on August 13, 2019 at 9:39am

The Morgan County Commissioners met briefly yesterday and heard a presentation about updating communications. With the absence of action items and Chairman Bradley Zeller yesterday, the Morgan County Commissioners heard from Morgan County Sheriff Mike Carmody on updating information technology at the Morgan County Courthouse and jail.

Carmody is hoping to move the county away from older telephone technology, consolidate phone services for 14 departments between the jail, the courthouse, and the probation office to ensure for better, more consistent phone calls and a way to consolidate bills among the departments.

Carmody explains the project that he’s been working on for almost a year. “Right now, the system is an old system that runs the courthouse and the sheriff’s office. I want to tie in the 3 buildings that the county uses – probation, MCS, and all the offices in the courthouse – with this new system. We can then tie it in with the Jacksonville Police Department so we have a back-up system. We will be separate and independent from Jacksonville, but we’re hoping that we can ask the mayor or the chief of police to tie our system in with theirs just in case there is an emergency so we will not lose phone services.”

The state-of-the-art voice over Internet protocol based phone system would tie in with the computer network. Carmody says it’ll just be more efficient. “It would cut the long distance costs down to a very minimum amount. I’ve given the county board how much each department is currently using. We’re hoping to save approximately $2,000 a month by turning over to a system that will eventually pay for itself.”

The Internet service will also be getting upgraded for the three buildings with the possibility of a fourth. Jill Waggoner, the county clerk, said the Internet protocol will need to be updated per new election laws to keep elections from being hacked due to mandates by the State Board of Elections. Carmody said that the State has also cut out old technology as well, making it the perfect time to upgrade services at the county’s buildings. “The State of Illinois has cut off our T-1 line, which is the line we use to get Internet connection with the B of I and Secretary of State’s office. We now have switched over, and it was a good time. Now is a good time to switch everything over so we can bring in Internet to all 3 buildings. We are hoping to get the Health Department involved in this project also and alleviate some of the money that we would be paying for and help get them online with us.”

Carmody said that the current system is being maintained by a retired telephone line engineer and long distance calls will eventually be rolled into the sheriff’s department’s budget making for a consolidated line item during budget talks.

Preliminary budget meetings will begin with paperwork being made available to the public on August 15th, according to Commissioner Ginny Fanning. Jill Waggoner also said that 2020 primary election packets will begin to be available for county positions on September 3rd. Jenny Geirnaeirt, County Treasuer, said September 3rd is also the day that the next installment of property taxes are due in the county. Geirnaeirt also said that delinquent property tax sealed bid auctions will begin this Friday, August 16th. The next commissioners meeting will be held on August 26th at 9AM on the second floor of the courthouse.