REDINGTON BEACH – Housekeeping matters were the order of the day at the March 5 Redington Beach Commission meeting.
Since the town currently has no computer backup system, discussion ensued about the feasibility of purchasing a system that would allow for better portability of data in the event that data becomes unavailable as it would with the system now in use.
A cloud computing system would eliminate the need to install a suite of software for each computer as only one application needs to be loaded. From there, workers can log into a Web-based service, which hosts all the programs the user needs.
In effect, the data and software no longer resides in the computer but rather on the service’s computer cloud.
“It operates on the big three: security, redundancy and availability,” said Commissioner Tom Dorgan said. “For true portability, you would want to use the server only as data storage.”
After pricing several options, it was agreed that Microsoft’s Office 365 partnered with the Carbonite, an online backup service, system would fit the bill. The minimal cost would be $3.50 per month per user for email and $249 annually for software and data.
Office 365 supposedly improves productivity, reduces total cost of ownership compared to similar on premises implementation and is secure with anywhere, anytime access to email and calendars, Web apps, instant messaging, conferencing, and file sharing. The program supposedly offers better spam and virus protection as well.
According to Dorgan, Redington Shores is using this same type of a system.
“From what I’ve seen, it seems reasonable and a good way to go,” he said.
“Most governments are going to the cloud for its voluminous capability to store and access,” said Mayor Nick Simons who directed Town Clerk, Missy Clarke, to explore the “nuts and bolts” and come back with a proposal for the town to utilize this type of system. It was noted, as a government entity, the town might be able to obtain some discounts on the various pricing packages.
Seeking a higher investment in a secured account for the town’s municipal funds, the commission voted unanimously to transfer about $1.1 million in the town operating funds from Fifth Third Bank over to Smith Barney Investments.
The monies from each of the three funds will be transferred into three separate CD accounts that will roll over anywhere from three months to one year and will allow for the flexibility to either keep the money in the current CD or possibly put it into some other type of account with a higher yield.
According to Commissioner Mark Deighton, he and Clarke estimate the town needs to have about $300,000 readily available in general funds for day-to-day management. The balance from this amount will now be transferred into the three CD accounts with $240,000 to go into a general account; $700,000 in a capital account; $170,000 in a storm water account.
“It keeps all of the monies separate so that somewhere down the road if we need to call the money for a specific project, then we can do that. It keeps things much more neat,” Deighton said.
In a related matter, the board agreed to transfer all its checking account needs and transfer of funds to JP Morgan Chase Bank based on the concern that the town was losing money each month in fees charged by Fifth Third Bank and getting what the Mayor referred to as “paltry service in return.” Deighton described Chase Bank as being “much more responsive to our needs.”