MIAMI COUNTY — On Thursday, the Board of Miami County Commissioners extended the state of emergency declaration in Miami County until May 15, making plans to reopen county buildings to the general public on May 18.
Commissioners’ Administrator Leigh Williams received a consensus from the commissioners that they do not plan on extending the emergency declaration for a third time and are planning on opening county buildings to the public on Monday, May 18.
Williams said she will be working on notifying the heads of county departments, along with elected officials, of the plans to open and guidelines for county employees in regard to wearing face masks. As some departments may still be working with a limited staff after May 18, the public is still encouraged to call ahead to county departments they may need to do business with, see what their protocols are, and make appointments as necessary before visiting county buildings. Visitors are also encouraged, but not required, to wear face masks.
The county will also be providing its employees with face maks as the commissioners also approved the purchase of both reusable and disposable face masks during their meeting on Thursday.
The commissioners first approved the purchase of 2,000 face covers — which will be elastic ear strap, two panel, reusable, single logo, non-medical masks — from Atlantis Quality Imprinted Sportswear in Piqua at a cost not to exceed $6,000. Williams explained how, following last week’s discussion regarding face masks for employees, commissioner Ted Mercer learned Atlantis Sportswear is selling fabric face masks through the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce. The purchase was made on an emergency basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the masks are expected to come in two weeks.
The commissioners then approved a quote from Amazon Payments, Inc., Seattle, Wash. and authorized the Commissioners’ Office to purchase 1,500 face covers, which will be three-ply facial disposable covers. Due to the high demand, Mercer paid for this emergency purchase on his personal credit card to ensure that masks were available to county employees until the cloth masks are delivered. The cost shall not exceed $1,615.50.
Williams advised the commissioners that county departments, such as the various courts, may utilize these face covers for visitors and non-county employees as the county is not requiring non-county employees who come to county buildings to wear masks.
“We do urge people to do so,” Williams said.
Commissioner Jack Evans also explained this purchase was made with Mercer’s personal credit card because it did not fit the guidelines for using a county credit card for the emergency purchase. Evans said they are working with Miami County Auditor Matt Gearhardt on a policy modification to allow them to do this in future, and Williams said the county is also working on setting up a government account with Amazon to also avoid this in the future.
In other news:
The commissioners also approved one of the last major purchases for its new telephone system on Thursday. They accepted a quote from Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions (CBTS) for the purchase of voice over IP (VoIP) telephony equipment and services pursuant to the State of Ohio Master Services Agreement with CBTS. The one-time cost for the VoIP telephone equipment is not to exceed approximately $191,483. A one-time cost for installation is not to exceed $1,537. The new VoIP telephone system will have a monthly cost not exceed approximately $9,789, not to exceed approximately $117,488 annually.
IT Director Matt Watkins said the project was originally budgeted at $1.4 million. During a work session last week, Watkins explained that, due to “smart engineering, the State of Ohio pricing, and the emerging partnership with CBTS,” the up-front costs were reduced to the current price of approximately $191,483.
Watkins also provided a list of reasons to move forward this purchase, such as the county’s current NEC system being “out of support and fragile.” The county’s current telephone system is also at capacity and cannot have anymore telephones added to it. The new system is a “plug and play operation,” so there are no wires in a closet to cut and move. The new system also has expanded features include automated calling, the ability to work remotely, and emergency alerting. It is also twice as resiliant to failures.
Following that, the commissioners also approved the purchase of a cardboard baler and loading conveyor for the Miami County Solid Waste Transfer Station from OBC Industrial of Strongsville, Ohio in the amount of $111,239.