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Lantzville settles on computer budget increase

NANAIMO – Councillors voted to reduce the budget to $26,000 for 2016.

Lantzville could see its computer maintenance costs reduced.

During a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Lantzville councillors recommended that staff reduce the computer maintenance budget in the financial plan from $32,000 down to $26,000, which was an increase from an original motion that would have seen the figure reduced to $19,000.

Staff had set the computer maintenance budget for 2016 at $34,180. Included in the total cost is the payment of $17,544 to the district’s IT contractor and an $850 audio video operating cost. The remaining $15,786 was designated for ‘other,’ such as web hosting and software maintenance costs.

In 2015, Lantzville paid $19,218 for computer maintenance services.

Jeannie Beauchamp, director of financial services for the district, told councillors that one of the reasons for the increase was the current contractor had not been billed for additional hours worked.

“Previously we had been billing seven hours a month for the IT contractor,” Beauchamp said. “It was brought to our attention that, in fact, more hours were being worked but not billed for. That has now changed and we are being billed for the hours that they are working.”

However, Coun. John Coulson, who had raised concerns about the maintenance budget during a committee of the whole meeting in March, said he was concerned that after four years, the contractor was raising issues about how they were being paid.

“My main concern with this was the approximate 50-per cent jump between prior years and going forward. So the explanation for the contractor not billing us for full hours … is a pretty unsatisfying response,” Coulson said.

Mayor Colin Haime made an amendment to the original motion of $19,000, adjusting the computer maintenance budget to $26,000.

“The fact is there are some separate contractor-related costs that do have to be dealt with and I think the $19,000 would just make it too close,” Haime said.

Councillors voted in favour of the amended motion, with only Coulson voting against.