Madison County seeks to resolve IT dilemma

John P. Cleary | The Herald BulletinLisa Cannon, director of the Information Technology Department for Madison County, says all the county computers and public safety agency mobile units have to be replaced. Microsoft is switching to the Windows 10 operating platform in 2020 and the state is making changes to the system used by the courts. “It’s impossible to upgrade the computers,” she said. “They have to be replaced.”

ANDERSON – Madison County will spend $384,000 over the next three years to upgrade 400 computers because Microsoft will no longer support the operating software.

The Madison County Council on Tuesday approved $77,000 in each of the next three years, with an additional $51,000 yearly coming from departmental budgets.

Lisa Cannon, director of the Information Technology Department, informed council members earlier this year that Microsoft would no longer provide support for the Windows 7 operating software. The new computers will be equipped with Windows 10.

Each computer will cost the county $795.

She said Tuesday that Microsoft kept changing the date when it would stop supporting Windows 7 but that support will end at the end of the year.

Cannon said the new computers have to be in place by Jan. 1.

She said that cost doesn’t include the approximately 300 mobile computer devices used by public safety agencies, including police and fire departments.

Each department will be responsible for a portion of those costs, Cannon said. She hopes to have the mobile computer units installed by the end of the year.

Faced with a tight general fund budget, the council voted to pay for the initial $77,000 lease payment from the county’s rainy day fund.

“That (rainy day) is our last resort for emergency situations,” Council President Anthony Emery said when another proposal was made to spend from the fund for a request by the county commissioners.

Auditor Rick Gardner said there is $342,000 in the rainy day fund and it should be at least $1 million.

At the start of the meeting, Gardner said the county had a cash balance of $9.8 million.

He said the council has appropriated $1.6 million more than what was budgeted for 2019.

“You have no room for additional appropriations,” Gardner said. “There is room for reductions in spending or you will be facing tough finances at the end of the year.”

The county took a $2 million advance June tax settlement payment to meet expenditures for the first six months of the year.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.