Cities, counties, and states are being forced to upgrade or purchase new technology. The old legacy systems are now inadequate, inefficient, and somewhat dangerous because of their vulnerability to hacking. Many of the old systems are almost completely obsolete. They are unable to accommodate new applications.
In today’s data driven world, technology modernization leads to less cost, increases in efficiency, fewer requirements for human resources, and huge increases in convenience for citizens. Research on numerous capital improvement plans for cities, counties, and states reveals that funding is being allocated for major technology purchases and upgrades throughout the country.
In a bill just signed by the governor, the Act Financing the General Governmental Infrastructure of the Commonwealth, $660 million has been allocated for information technology (IT) needs. Community colleges are scheduled to receive $140 million for cybersecurity, software, hardware, and infrastructure upgrades. Public schools will be eligible for competitive matching grants from a program that received $50 million. Much of the education funding will be used for access to broadband and other digital learning curricula. The IT funding includes $10 million for a statewide data sharing system for all criminal justice agencies and $10 million for the state’s Department of Health.
Cities and counties in Massachusetts also will receive funding. Sommerville’s need to acquire modern backup IT appliances and disaster and cybersecurity projects will get funding. The county of Berkshire is granted funding for a study to determine the cost of constructing a municipal broadband network. Avon will receive funding to move the township’s financial software to the cloud for increased security, and Easton will get funding for an e-permitting geographic information system and some technology-based service delivery software.
City leaders in Houston plan to spend millions to upgrade some outdated technology. The current computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system is more than 13 years old and has limited functionalities. The city’s public safety department is in need of a new system to efficiently respond to police, fire, and medical calls for services. Funding allocations are outlined in the city’s 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan. The public safety CAD replacement is scheduled to receive $1 million, and the city has allocated $2.2 million for new budgeting software.
The Las Vegas Public Works Department plans to procure a software solution for the city’s capital improvement project program management system (CPMS). The department is challenged with aging IT infrastructure, reduced resources, and currently, each phase of the CPMS uses separate software applications. This is labor intensive and ineffective. The plan is to have one software solution that tracks and manages all phases of the CPMS, including concept, planning, design, permitting, construction, and closeout. The city has budgeted $350,000 each year from 2021-2025 to complete this project.
The city of Norfolk plans to upgrade its Department of Utilities’ billing system at a cost of $2 million. Over two years, city leaders plan to spend $4 million per year to purchase IT infrastructure. Purchases will include public safety radios, courthouse equipment, an electronic health record system, security appliances, a cybersecurity assessment, and upgrades to e-services platform.
The city of Portsmouth will upgrade its financial software beginning in 2021 with full implementation by 2024. The project will include software and hardware upgrades and the streamlining of third-party software. Beginning in 2022, the city will purchase record retention software to house permanent, and eventually all, citywide digital records. Plans also call for updating the city’s public safety records management/computer aided dispatch system at a cost of $900,000. New software will improve mobile computing and analysis tools, management dashboards, and multijurisdictional expandable capabilities for future potential collaborations with surrounding communities.
The city of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology has a total of $153.6 million in city tax-supported funding programmed over its six-year FY21-FY26 capital program. Of the $22.5 million recommended, $8.67 million is for major upgrades for network infrastructure stabilization and enhancement. Another $13.83 million will support citywide departmental applications. This funding will be used for replacement of an old tax legacy system, a new personnel accountability system for the fire department, an integrated jail management system, and an enterprise resource platform modernization effort for procurement, accounting, and logistics. In 2021, the city also will design and implement a new fare collection system at a cost of $1.54 million to replace or enhance the current revenue collection equipment.
The Forsyth County Board of County Commissioners has approved a 2020-2021 annual budget which includes a $6.2 million enterprise resource planning system. The county’s budget, finance, and human resources software programs are in critical need of replacement. In Chatham County, there are plans to replace the current tax office software at a cost of $1 million, and the current software is being evaluated for new purchases.
The city of Salem’s Information Technology Department has announced plans to update its financial system at a cost of $650,000. This upgrade is needed to maintain support of the application and increase functionality. The city also plans to update its enterprise storage array at a cost of $250,000. This equipment is primarily used for enterprise applications including financial services, cash handling, parking, utility billing, police records, and other city records flagged for retention purchases.
There is absolutely no doubt – 2021 will be a good year for companies that have new technology to sell to public officials.