Agreements help county to keep costs down for taxpayers
While it is often assumed that vendor expenses will always go up over time, the Union County Board of Commissioners and chief information officer Rollie Hawk say they remain dedicated to keeping costs down for taxpayers.
In a pair of recently signed agreements, Union County has secured significant savings for the next few years, Hawk said in a news release.
The first, a one-year agreement for electricity, will save the county more than $5,000 over the next calendar year, county officials estimated.
The agreement with energy supplier AEP was selected after a public bid process, the second year the county has engaged in such a process for electricity.
“Keeping our options open has really paid off,” Hawk stated.
“AEP was able to slightly edge out our current energy provider on pricing so the commissioners elected to make a switch.
“If energy usage stays the same as the last twelve months, this will result in savings of $5,551 over the next year. This agreement will cover all county facilities, which really helps when trying to lock in a good price.”
The second agreement deals with telephone and internet services and will expand the role of carrier NewWave in the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro for the next three years.
The result is not only cost savings, but improved service quality, Hawk said.
“We were looking to improve our internet speeds in the courthouse,” Hawk said.
“There’s more and more we do that involves transferring large files. Plus, we anticipate the need to do more bandwidth intensive things like video conferencing in the next few years.
“Moving up to a 100 megabit connection is going to help us to do that. The fact that we were able to do this for $100 per month less than we’re currently spending made that an easy decision to make.”
Additionally, the NewWave agreement will cover most of the telephone services for the courthouse.
“The telephone service portion of the agreement will save us around $600 per month,” Hawk said.
“In addition to lower base fees, we’ll get unlimited calling within the 618 area code. That will result in much more predictable costs.”
Hawk said he considers the agreements to be the result of several years of working towards improved vendor relationships.
“We have a lot more options available to us in terms of energy and communications than we had in the past.
“That opens up opportunities to keep working toward better pricing and services if you let market principles work. We’re looking at close to $14,000 in savings over the next year thanks to these agreements.”