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Stacy Swenson


BRITT | The city of Britt hopes an investment in its technology now will benefit it for years to come.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the Britt City Council approved about $16,789 for new computers, new wireless hardware, a new server and upgrades during its regular council meeting.

“We’re at the point where we didn’t budget it out to update gradually, so we have to bite the bullet now, and then we can budget moving forward,” Councilwoman Stacy Swenson said.

The council’s decision came after Boris Kiss and Jim Wachholz with Allied ENS LLC of Britt presented it six quotes.

“We recommend what are best practices to keep all of our employees, all of your employees, as efficient as possible,” Kiss said. “We need to keep them with tools that work and work well.”

Allied ENS provided quotes for four computers, including the two in the city’s main office as well as the two used for GIS and the wastewater treatment plant.

The first quote of $3,334 was to upgrade the four computers’ outdated operating systems, which would extend their lifespan a couple years before needing to be replaced. The second quote of $6,683 is for the replacement of the two computers in the main office and upgrades to two others.

The main office computers, which were purchased at the recommendation of Allied ENS in early 2016, will be upgraded and used by the GIS and wastewater treatment plant for use.

“I know it’s a chunk more, but if the water treatment ones are that old I feel like we’re going to be buying new computers there anyway shortly,” Swenson said.

Councilmen Curt Gast and Paul Verbrugge agreed.

“I hate to spend that kind of money but I’m with Stacy,” Verbrugge said.

The equipment will be paid for using the city’s local option sales tax fund, Britt Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said.

He said the city had budgeted for computer improvements this fiscal year, but the server upgrade is the “bad chunk” that wasn’t anticipated or budgeted.

Wachholz said the city experienced “a little bit of a disaster” a few weeks ago when its server crashed after three hard drives failed. A week and a half later, the drives failed again.

After Allied ENS received a notification about the failure, it manually backed up Britt’s server to preserve its data.

Britt City Administrator/Clerk Debra Sawyer said the city’s server wasn’t designed for the database it’s running.

“The server is the size you’d give a small mom and pop and it worked until we took this huge database and downloaded it onto this poor little server. It’s been choking along I think ever since,” she said. “The little train just can’t go any further.”

The difference between the two server quotes Allied ENS provided to the city other than $2,500 is how they’re backed up.

The $8,838 quote includes offsite data backup, whereas the $6,329 quote doesn’t. Both quotes involve backing up the data at the wastewater treatment plant at City Hall, which is currently not done.

“I kind of think it’s dumb to not back it up,” Swenson said. “I’m just picturing if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen like the week before budget’s due and we’re not going to have any of it ... I’m just saying if a disaster’s going to happen, it’s going to be when you don’t want it to happen.”

In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Chad Luecht opposed, the council approved the $8,838 server quote. The council also approved a $1,306 quote to update its wireless equipment at City Hall that would cover the municipal room.

“Currently, you can’t access the wireless network at the city in that room,” Arndorfer said. “Any time they bring in systems, like the voting and that stuff they have to do their own connection or a hard wire.”

The council will also pay Allied ENS for the management and maintenance of its equipment, which costs more than $300 annually.

“With the investment we’re putting into it, it’d be nice to make sure they’re maintained,” Arndorfer said.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.



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