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County considers phone options for new jail

CenturyTel has presented the Butler County Commission with an extensive $16,000 plan for a phone system in the new county jail, while also upgrading existing phone systems in the county annex building and courthouse.

Jessica Hendrix, CenturyTel account manager, met with commissioners during its regular work session on Thursday night. The commission’s regular meeting is Monday at 8:30 a.m.

While the plan was the most costly of the three options in Hendrix’s proposal, she said the plan means the county would be prepared for future growth, including the possibility of video arraignments from the jail to the courthouse annex via a connected T1 digital communications line. The plan would also allow for site-to-site dialing among the three buildings and Caller ID.

Should the county decide against the included voice-mail option in the plan, Hendrix said the cost would decrease by $2,000. Additionally, the new T1 line would increase the county’s phone bill by $100 per month.

The other two options, while cheaper said Hendrix, included several disadvantages. The first option would cost $1,648, significantly lower then the recommended plan, but that would include a monthly charge of $168 and there would be issues with dialing E-911, she said.

“If 911 was dialed from the any of the three buildings it would simply show up as ‘Butler County Courthouse’ and not indicate which building the call was made from,” she said.

A lightening strike could also severely damage the system, she said.

The second option represented a $3,332 up-front cost to the county, but allowed for no site-to-site dialing, shared services or shared data among the buildings. There was also a $150 monthly cost.