City Awards Contracts

July 28, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The city awarded Computer Products and Resources a one-year, $1.5 million contract last week to manage its information technology data network and provide desktop support.

The contract also contains two one-year options.

City Director of Information Technology Paul Klimas said Computer Products and Resources, also known as CPR, was unanimously selected for the contract by a committee that reviewed the proposals the city requested in May. Eight other firms bid on the contract.

Klimas said CPR’s experience, its location at 1595 Galbraith Ave. SE, prices, resources and references were the key reasons committee members found the firm to be “best suited” to manage the city’s sizeable IT system.

“It is equitable to what we are currently engaged in with Northrop Drummond,” said Klimas of the firm that is leaving the city.

CPR claims to be West Michigan’s largest IT solutions provider, with 120 engineers, designers and consultants on staff.

CPR merged with Corporate Technologies LLC last year, a move the company said expanded its staff to more than 200 and “broadened its reach to a national level.”

The city also awarded Array Information Technology a $30,000 contract last week to serve as a telephony consultant. The city owns and operates a Nortel PBX, and Klimas said the switching hardware and software is aging and reaching the end of its serviceability. Array IT will help the city to improve the current system to Voice-over Internet Protocol.

Klimas called Array IT the “most cost-effective and qualified vendor.”

Array IT is headquartered in Greenbelt, Md., and has an office in Dayton, Ohio. The company specializes in government services, with its largest customers at the federal level. It has contracts with the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Department of State, Homeland Security and the General Services Administration.

Array IT beat out three other bidders for the contract. The firm has been in business since 1997.

The city’s IT department has a budget of $10.5 million for the current fiscal year and is expecting a deficit of $730,000 for the year. Revenues to the departments are expected to total nearly $9.8 million for FY09 with almost all that income coming from the services it provides to other city agencies, led by $2.1 million in receipts from the Police Department.

Just three years ago, the IT budget was $7.2 million. But adding new equipment and more spending on contractual services, along with other items, have pushed the budget up.

The city also entered into an agreement with EMA Inc. to help replace the current water-and-sewer billing system. The city has 80,000 accounts to service on the 25-year-old system. Annual revenue to the city from the billing system tops $72 million.

The contract is expected to cost the city $284,000 and the changeover is likely to be done over four phases.

The city chose EMA for the project over three other bidders during a six-month process that reviewed a study done by the American Water Works Association and examined what other cities in similar situations had done.

“Through the process, it became apparent that the communities that were most successful had a commercial and independent consultant,” said Joellen Thompson, manager of the city water system.

EMA is a specialized consulting firm focusing on the government, manufacturing and utility sectors. The 33-year-old company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., and has an office in Detroit.

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