CHESHIRE — Earlier this summer, town councilors unanimously supported entering into a new three-year contract with the information technology company that has been with the town since 2011.
Last month, councilors voted in favor of the contract with Apex Technology Group for tech services for both the town and school district.
The annual cost will be $331,080, with the term running from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. The new contract is costing the town $93,000 more annually than its recent terms with Apex.
Steve Carroll, chairman of the town’s technology study group, said the town originally employed two IT technicians. When the study group was formed in 2011, however, Carroll, along with other town officials, determined the approach was was not effective.
“Around 2011, I was asked to get involved in the technology study group by the town manager then and it quickly became apparent that the status of our technology in Cheshire was something close to a dumpster fire,” Carroll reflected. “If it wasn’t broken, it was going to break soon. That is when the technology group came to be.”
The technology group employed Apex as consultants,tasked with identifying “critical elements” that needed to be addressed, according to Carroll.
“They kept at it and, really, we’ve addressed everything to this point,” Carroll said. “I think we’ve got a top-notch network.”
Carroll added that employing two technicians now, which would be senior-level positions and require benefits, would cost the Town at least $350,000 per year. Not only would employing two new staff be expensive, but their knowledge would be limited.
“They’re not going to know everything about everything because there are no two technicians or two people in the world that know everything about everything,” Carroll said. “What you gain with Apex is you gain access to all of their expertise.”
Apex and the technology study group already have plans to further enhance technology services in town, including implementation disaster recovery, which would allow the town to use cloud services to recover lost data.
Apex also proposed co-location of a data center, which Carroll said the town does not have the infrastructure or space to house due to specific requirements such as temperature, humidity and fire prevention.
“We don’t really have the environmentals to support that here unless you wanted to make a capital investment,” Carroll said.
Co-locating elsewhere “alleviates the up and down capital spending” the town would otherwise have to invest, Carroll added.
Town Councilor Peter Talbot, who also serves on the technology group, agreed with Carroll.
“The council has been extremely supportive of capital money over the years,” Talbot said. “Up front, it was a lot (higher requests for funds) but we’ve gotten ourselves, in the 11 years, we’ve gotten ourselves to the status of maintenance rather than playing catch up to fix everything.”