Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – The Mayor and City Council approved this week a list of requests to upgrade or replace Information Technology (IT) equipment, as well as Eagles Landing’s irrigation pump station.

Golf Course Upgrade Planned

Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster explained that the Eagle’s Landing irrigation pump station and narrow band radio system are in need of immediate replacement.

The project has direct costs of $195,000 and a potential debt issuing cost of $5,000. The Eagle’s Landing Enterprise Fund will fund the ultimate cost of the projects. The project will go out for bid on March 5.

“We want to get it done now while we are out of season so we have a good summer season,” Council President Jim Hall said.

Resort Going Virtual

City Engineer Terry McGean explained that currently the town has $86,000 budgeted in IT to replace 66 PC’s including software and upgrades to Microsoft Office 2010. The purchase has been postponed while staff looked for a more efficient way to provide needed computer access and services to users without having to constantly replace equipment and software in order to keep up with technology.

This week the IT staff has recommended that the town transition to a virtual desktop environment. This system allows all software and files reside on a central server and access to the server can be through almost any age PC or on any lap top or tablet.

Benefits to the switch include it is cheaper than the conventional PC solution, the Microsoft assurance license includes all future upgrades, it eliminates viruses originating or residing on the local machine and the system uses much less electricity.

“This is an excellent recommendation and it really does save us money in the long run,” Mayor Rick Meehan said.

New Security Cameras

The Public Safety Group has previously presented its program for the Homeland Security Grant Funds to the Mayor and City Council and $27,000 was approved to be used to improve the security camera system.

This week McGean recommended replacing the 900 mhz radio transmitters used at the Route 50, North Division Street and Wicomico Street cameras with a new transmitter that will provide a better quality, and more reliable signal and bandwidth.

It was suggested to replace the existing cameras at North Division Street, Route 50, Wicomico Street, the Inlet Parking Lot toll booths, the south tram station and the Worcester Street Sub-Station because they are older cameras that are heavily used by the police department and web site visitors. The new cameras have better resolution and zoom capability.

McGean’s last recommendation was to add a new east facing camera at the Worcester Street substation, which was requested by the police department. The total cost for the new cameras is $23,000 and included in the current year IT budget.

Toughbooks Purchased

According to McGean, the fiscal year 2012 IT budget includes almost $72,000 in approved funding for the purchase of 14 new Panasonic Toughbook computers to be used in new vehicles. The current computers are more than seven years old, are no longer under warranty, and they are frequently in need of service.

Panasonic Toughbook portable computers have been selected as replacements for the existing computers because they offer several advantages, including portability that will save the town money by deactivating sprint cards in fleet cars parked during the off-season and in the event of a weather emergency they can be easily removed from vehicles and placed in others during recovery operations.