The Phelps County Commission earlier this week approved accepting a proposal from Everbridge to supply various governmental entities in the county with a mass notification system as long as the contract is to the liking of County Counselor John Beger.
During the commission’s Christmas Eve meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners unanimously accepted a bid from Everbridge for a system that includes weather alerts for an annual fee of $14,950, plus one-time implementation and setup fees totaling $1,196.
According to Everbridge’s proposal, if a contract is signed by Dec. 31, the county will get one free month of service, meaning that the first year’s contract would actually expire Feb. 1, 2015.
For the first year, the county sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices have offered to fund the system with asset forfeiture funds.
After that, county commissioners have proposed splitting the costs among the entities interested in using the system.
County Emergency Management Director Sandy North said there could be emergency preparedness grants through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that could help fund the system in future years.
Governmental entities and emergency response groups in the county will be able to try the system out next year at no cost to them to see how the system works.
Sheriff Rick Lisenbe said at Tuesday’s commission meeting that he and other representatives from his department had a conference call with Corey Baker, of Everbridge, and reviewed the proposal.
“I think we need to step forward with this,” Lisenbe said before the commission approved the motion. “I don’t see any reason to keep dragging our feet.
“I don’t see anything but a win,” Lisenbe said. “It’s a fair price and I don’t see any reason not to do it. We can evaluate it at the end of the year (2014).”
Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said while the school districts in Phelps County already have mass notification systems in place, by using the Everbridge system, it could translate to potential cost savings for the schools.
Beger said at Thursday’s commission meeting that he had not had a chance to review the contract at that time.
Commissioners said they won’t sign or date the contract until Beger looks it over.
Other companies that submitted proposals for a mass alert system were MIR3, SwiftReach Networks, Inc., Rave Mobile Safety, and SirenGPS.
At the Dec. 17 commission meeting, District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said he started reviewing the bids beginning with the lowest cost, which was the proposal from SwiftReach.
Stratman said based on that company’s proposal, he doesn’t believe that system offers portals like the Everbridge system does.
Page 2 of 2 - Everbridge’s proposal had the second lowest cost. Stratman said he is familiar with what the Everbridge system does and is pleased with it.
Stratman said he didn’t feel he needed to review proposals that have a higher cost.
In other business
• Also at the Dec. 24 meeting, the commission approved keeping certificates of deposit (CDs) for several county funds with First Community National Bank (FCNB) for 30 days starting Jan. 1 with an annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.15 percent. This will give county officials time to review the funds and then seek bids from financial institutions to hold the funds sometime in January.
In June 2013, the commissioners awarded FCNB a $2,425,000 county investment in a six-month certificate of deposit on an APY of 0.35 percent.
• Also on Dec. 24, the commission approved a corner remonumentation contract that allows the county to be reimbursed $250 for each corner remonumented in the county for up to 20 corners or $5,000.
• North also visited with commissioners Dec. 24 to talk about what commissioners described as an increased workload to North.
North said the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has requested county emergency managers report weather and other incidents to a web Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and for emergency management directors to implement a Multi Agency Communications Center (MACC).
North said she disagrees with the request to implement a MACC.
District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said it seems as if these programs are creating redundancy.
North is only a part-time emergency management director for Phelps County.