How much for a desk?

I am frustrated that the County is hell bent to buy six desks at almost $17,000 each for the 911 center.

This price does not include the chairs which we bought a few years ago at $1,400 each, computers or monitors. It is just for the desks and some cabinets. Each desk has its own heater/cooling fan with air purifier, anti-microbial surfaces, UV lamp to kill germs, and electric motors so the desk will stand up higher when the operator stands up so the operator will not have to bend over.

Just to be clear, I support the upgrades to software, computers, monitors and phone system as they will affect the operation, but not all furniture is equal. Some furniture is meant for the royal family, some is meant for utility purposes, and the rest is somewhere is in between. I think we can use something in between.

I found online a Texas company that manufactures 911 Dispatcher Desks for $6,000. These desks have the popular electric motor stand up feature but are not equipped with all the other bells and whistles like climate control, purifier and UV lamp.

Instead of having an air purifier and climate controls built into each desk, why not buy a large room air purifier instead and save the County a lot of money? If you are cold put on a sweater and save the County a lot of money instead of buying a desk with its own heater. If you are concerned about germs on the desktop, a can of Lysol and paper towels are a heck of a lot cheaper than a built in UV lamp.

I recently saw a TV program where they showed commonly used items and how filthy they were with germs. The finger holes in bowling balls were really gross as were common share computer keyboards. Seems kind of silly to me to have a desk with anti-microbial surfaces and then plunk down a communally used keyboard shared by each shift on top of it.

The 911 center dispatcher room is 958 sq ft in size and the desks plus cabinets will cost $100,500.00 dollars which works out to $105 per square foot. At that price I think an average person could equip their home with furniture, appliances, electrical wiring and plumbing.

In this regard there is a serious lacking of common sense. Maybe it is because it is “other people’s money”?

I proposed cutting the furniture money in half but that was defeated on Friday. I think the general consensus of the County Board of Supervisors is why spend $50,000 to get the job done adequately when you can spend $100,000.

When the fall comes and the County starts it’s budget process, we scramble to make cuts because the County managed to spend with little regard to the budget and tax levy all through the year. The time not to spend is now, not eight months from now when we wake up and say “how did that happen?”.

Call your Supervisor if you agree with me, and a letter to the Editor would not hurt.

Dana

Below is a story that was in Saturday’s 3/15/14 PostStar.

Push to cut cost of 911 center upgrade is shot down
BOARD BACKS MORE COSTLY FURNITURE

• JAMIE MUNKS — jmunks@poststar.com(0) Comments

FORT EDWARD — Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff’s proposal to cut in half the amount of money to be spent on furniture as part of an overhaul of the Washington County dispatching center didn’t get the support of most of his peers on Friday.

One long-debated item in the county’s 911 communications center capital project are the six ergonomic work consoles for dispatchers that come with a roughly $100,000 price tag.

Haff has been railing against the furniture proposal since it first came up months ago, but the majority of county supervisors on Friday approved a resolution for a 2014 capital project that includes the dispatch center upgrades, as well as some other capital projects.

“If you’re worried about germs, do what I do at home,” Haff said, plunking a can of Lysol, paper towels and hand sanitizer on the table in the supervisors’ chambers Friday morning. “For $20, you can go online and buy a Mr. Rogers sweater.”

Haff held up printed photos of a red cardigan and an air purifier, as he argued there are other ways temperature and air quality could be regulated in the dispatch center. The consoles county officials have proposed for the center have anti-microbial surfaces, individual temperature controls and air purifiers, and the desks can raise and lower as the worker stands and sits, Haff said.

“I think a desk with all these accoutrements is luxurious,” Haff said. “We’ve been told it’s the standard. I think it’s the gold standard.”

Haff proposed an amendment to the capital fund resolution, halving the amount to be spent on furniture to about $50,000. Haff’s amendment was defeated 12-5, with Dresden Supervisor George Gang, Easton Supervisor Dan Shaw, Jackson Supervisor Alan Brown and Salem Supervisor Seth Pitts joining Haff in voting for his amendment.

Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks emphasized to Haff that the action the board was taking Friday was to establish a bond anticipation note for the project, noting the purchases would still need to be put out to bid in the future.

“Just because it’s in there, it doesn’t mean we will spend it on that,” Hicks said.

The full capital project resolution was to move forward with financing four major county projects totaling $2,260,500, including the 911 center upgrades, information technology improvements, replacement of the building management system and replacement of roofs on two county buildings.

The bond anticipation note is estimated to carry a $25,000 annual cost and county officials plan to apply for 911 center grant funding for $400,000 to offset part of that project.

In addition to the 911 center consoles, a 911 Verizon Cassidian system and Motorola radio consoles are part of the planned purchases for the 911 center. Haff and Shaw both cast votes against the capital project resolution.

Some county officials have said the existing 911 center set-up is outdated and in serious need of upgrading, while Haff has continued to emphasize the burden on taxpayers — some of whom must choose between heating bills and food during the winter months, he said.

“Heat or eat? That’s a tough decision,” Hebron Supervisor Brian Campbell said. “But so is life or death.”