Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, called the infrastructure that
runs the County’s IT system “old,” “slow,” and “archaic” at Tuesday’s
Good and the other
Commissioners are looking to have an audit done on the system to find what
steps they should take to update it.
“This board has
made it our mission to make our IT system much more timely. The equipment
expires and wears out very quickly,” Good said. “We have directed (County IT
Director) Don Wellsand to put some numbers together and having companies
come do an IT audit for Porter County. I think it’s long overdue.”
The goal is not
only to make the computers more user-friendly for county employees but also
residents who use the county’s services online.
“The future lies in
computers,” said Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North. “People are doing more and
more online. We are a service-driven operation here, so people look for our
Biggs said the
audit will show any “redundancies” in the departments and will let them know
if anything needs to be changed out or get rid of.
“It’s in our best
interest to know what we have, where it’s at and what’s its value,” Biggs
Good said he has
discussed with Wellsand about what can be done within the budget. “We don’t
have a proposal yet but we need to see what we get for with this money.”
Shurr Blaney she sees no downside to do the audit. “We need to do it.”
The topic of
updating computer systems segued into the Election Board and Voters
Registration, which hopes to replace its voting equipment from 2005.
“Like when you were
talking about the IT audit, the future is computers,” said Sundae Schoon,
Republican director of the Voters Registration Office. “We have outgrown our
current equipment and it’s a lot more work than it needs to be.”
New equipment will
create a more “seamless” election process, Schoon said, and provide more
Democrat Director Kathy Kozuszek said she has been told by the provider that
the equipment told her the equipment is in “excellent” condition but she
feels it is not being stored well. She requests that the new contract have a
buyback option when the office wants new equipment.
New equipment won’t
drive up voter turnout but it will help results be tallied quicker, Kozuszek
said. The Election Board usually stays hours on election night because of
precinct totals not balancing.
Blaney said the
main concern from constituents is security. Schoon said the new machines
don’t have Internet connection so they cannot be hacked. Electronic
pollbooks have had Internet connections but the information there is public
record, she said.
President David Bengs said that the board would like to do an entire
overview of the election process this year since it is an off-year. Good
gave the permission for the board to proceed and commended them for working
Commissioners signed off on the Memorial Opera House to appropriate $7,779
from an Indiana Arts Commission Operational Support Grant to purchase new
equipment for its box office.
Director Scot MacDonald said the ticket scanners are 12 years old and are
near the end of their life cycle and the ticket printer is running slow. The
replacement equipment will help the venue keep up with demand as turnout for
shows and events increases.
Another grant will
be used to retain a design professional to develop a project manual of what
refurbishments need to be done, including interior and exterior features as
well as plumbing.
MacDonald said the
Opera House’s Foundation is leading fundraising efforts to find more money
and lessen the burden on the county’s budget.