The Wellington Village Council approved a three-year contract for a new telephone system for the Lake Wellington Professional Centre on Tuesday, amid concerns that the facility might be torn down before the contract ends.
Councilman Matt Willhite questioned why they should enter a three-year contract if they might not need or want the system for that long.
“Nowhere in this contract did I see that we had an out, so we’re stuck in this contract at this cost for three years no matter what?” Willhite asked. “If we don’t want this system after two years, we have to pay for it?”
Finance Director Ed De La Vega said he had spoken to a Mitel representative, who told him the village would have the option of moving the equipment.
“He told me that if, two years down the road, we decided we were going to do whatever we were going to do with that building, the only option we would have would be that we could relocate the equipment,” De La Vega said. “We could continue to use the equipment in another location if we so choose, but we are responsible for paying for the three-year term.”
Councilwoman Anne Gerwig asked about the current rental cost, and Administrative & Financial Services Director Tanya Quickel said it was about $900 a month.
“The three years went down to $803 a month,” Quickel said.
Vice Mayor John Greene asked whether staff had inquired about a year-to-year contract.
“If there is some uncertainty about what’s going to happen with this building, two years from now versus three years from now, do we save anything, or is it more expensive?” Greene asked.
De Le Vega said they had gone from a five-year to a three-year contract, and that the five-year contract was about $680 a month.
“The shorter the term, the higher the monthly [cost],” he said. “If we get into a one-year or two-year, we’re probably going to be over what we currently pay.”
Greene asked about the agreement terms with the tenants at the facility, which was purchased by the village in December 2013, and Quickel said that the telephones are part of the agreement, including how many phones they want and how they want it set up.
De La Vega said the current contract is month-to-month and automatically renews every six months. “We have been automatically renewing since we took over the building, and it appears that the previous owner was doing the same,” he said.
Greene added that he had been examining the records and found that the village might not be collecting business tax receipts (BTR) from all the tenants.
“It appears that when we look at the potential savings or revenue streams, the one thing that we’re not capturing fully is the BTR,” he said. “Can you tell me that every tenant in that building is in compliance with their business tax receipt?”
Quickel said that was a specific focus for the BTR season coming up.
“We issue the letters for that, we prepare them in June, and these tenants are being specifically reviewed for that compliance,” Quickel said.
Greene said he thought it was important for Wellington to apply the same rules to its tenant businesses as it does to other businesses. “I want to make sure that we are setting that standard for anybody that is part of our government now,” he said. “As a tenant, you kind of fall under that umbrella. We have to be consistent in making sure that same standard is being applied to our tenants as they should to any business in this municipality.”
Councilman John McGovern asked why they were changing the phone system, and Quickel said the issue was getting parts for the old system.
Gerwig made a motion to authorize the contract, which carried 5-0.