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IT and GIS approve merging into one
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 DARLINGTON - The Lafayette County IT meeting was called to order Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 at 10:45 a.m. by chair David Hammer.
    The first item on the agenda was whether or not to combine the Geographic Information System (GIS) into the Information Technology (IT) committee. It was stated that GIS wanted to be able to report to a committee on some of the important grants and projects. Right now GIS is under the Finance Committee. Lauree Aulik, GIS Coordinator/Land Information officer thought the IT committee was a good fit for GIS and somewhat related, because both departments are highly technical.
    Kriss Marion, county board member and IT committee member said, “I think it will be more effective in forwarding the agenda that we need to.”
    Nicola Maurer, Finance Director, said, “This should go through legal council. There are questions, such as, will these two committees share a budget or pay vouchers? There are statutory concerns that I am not aware of and those should go through Nathan Russell.”
    A motion was made and approved to merge of the two departments into one committee and to pass it on to the county board, after they get the okay from Jack Sauer, County Board chair and corporate council.
    Jason Walter, IT Director stated he received the contract for a higher bandwidth at the courthouse. The provider is CenturyLink and they provided a three year contract that will increase the bandwidth from 20 megabits to 50 megabits at a cost of $1,566 per month. Nothing will change in the server room and the change will be immediate.
    The budget came up next – some issues came up with the 2017 budget. The IT did not submit projections (for the current year) to Finance. Maurer stated the differences in the budget that was submitted and the budget that was approved by Finance was $35,000 in raises and associated fringes were not approved and Finance included an additional $15,000 in professional services (for potential consulting) in the IT budget.
    Walter was asked about a comment he made at the Department Heads meeting regarding the Time Clock Server upgrade in that he may not be able to complete the project, because of lack of funds. At this point he said he would just shift monies from the Professional Service category and use that on the Time Clock.
    Maurer stated that you can’t just shift monies around like that in a budget. You would need Finance and County Board approval. Becky Taylor asked Maurer, “Was there a reason or something they were anticipating for Finance to increase the Professional Service by $15,000? Maurer stated there is reason, we can talk about it, but that would need to be discussed in closed session.
    Marion said, “It’s weird to be part of a committee where there’s stuff going on that we don’t know about.” Tony Ruesga, said, “Transparency, how do you change our budget, without us even knowing why you’re changing it?” He continued, “It makes no sense, why have these committees, we might as well have the Finance Committee run everything. This frustrates me that now we have to try to find out why there’s such a big change in our budget, $15,000 that we didn’t ask for, I would like an explanation.”
    Changing gears, Ruesga said, “I don’t think IT is getting it’s due respect in this county, everything is run with IT, every aspect of county operations depends on IT. If we don’t have a strong IT department, it doesn’t matter, budget wise, what we do in any other department, for functionality.” Marion added, “All I want to know is that we are giving this department (IT) what they need, to do their job. I want to insist that this department gets education, we must invest in these young people.”
    The Sheriff Department’s Spillman project was discussed. Walter said things are moving forward, with three new systems being installed before the end of the year and then the state will review what we’ve done and then we go from there.” Aulik said, “GIS has been spending all our time, for months, on the Spillman project.”
    Future agenda items include a closed session and a digital government report from Marion.