Douglas County commissioners at their Monday morning meeting unanimously agreed to spend more money to buy a new software system to track inmate information at the county jail.
Commissioners agreed to move ahead on a $350,000 jail-management software program from Spillman Technologies. That software system was more expensive than a $226,000 program offered by Cisco.
But members of the sheriff's department convinced commissioners that the Spillman system has significantly more features than the Cisco system. For example, the Spillman system more easily allows jail employees to make a note of suicidal tendencies that an inmate may exhibit.
The new system can be used at both the jail and the juvenile detention facility.
County leaders have been setting aside money for several years to purchase the new system and have enough in the reserve fund. The current software program is about 15 years old and was not designed to be a full jail-management system. Many current records are being kept are in paper form.
Also, commissioners agreed to enter negotiations for a new software program that will manage the process of mailing and maintaining county property tax bills. Commissioners unanimously agreed to waive the county's request for proposals process and allow staff members to negotiate with Manatron Inc.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew asked to deviate from the RFP process because Wyandotte and Sedgwick counties are in the process of installing the Manatron system. He said there may be some efficiencies for Douglas County to install the same system at the same time. Also, it could speed the process. The current system will need a major upgrade by 2009 if a new system isn't purchased.
County officials are estimating the new system will cost about $350,000, although a final price hasn't yet been negotiated.