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.
On July 12, Councilors voted in favor of the contract with Apex Technology Group for tech services for both the Town and the Cheshire School District. The annual cost to the Town will be $331,080, with the term running from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025. The new contract resulted in an increase of $93,000 over the most recent terms with Apex, which was $238,080.
Steve Carroll, chairman of the Town’s Technology Study Group, said the Town had originally employed two IT technicians. When the study group was formed in 2011, however, Carroll, along with other Town officials, determined that the way technology had been handled in town had not been effective.
“Around 2011, I was asked to get involved in the (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 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, both of which would be senior-level positions and require benefits, could cost the Town at least $350,000 per year. Not only would employing two new staff members 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 services in town, including the implementation of “disaster recovery,” which would allow the Town to use cloud services to recover lost data.
Apex also proposed a “colocation” data center — a centralized location for equipment/servers — which, Carroll said, the Town does not have the infrastructure nor space to house due to specific temperature, humidity, and fire prevention requirements.
“We don’t really have the environmentals to support that here unless you wanted to make a capital investment,” Carroll said.
Colocating “alleviates the up and down capital spending” the Town would otherwise have to invest, Carroll continued, which is the opposite of what the Council has been working toward.
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) 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.”