Carter County commissioners may run into some hangups as they work to set up phone service for their new office.
Commissioners approved a contract with AT&T Monday, costing nearly $52,000 for installation and implementation of purchased equipment and maintenance for updated phone services around the county, excluding recurring monthly charges. New phones would be installed in the new commission office, the Carter County Annex Building, the Carter County Courthouse and the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.
The new office, located at 110 E. Broadway St., was donated to the county in 2015 by Noble Energy. The total cost of remodeling is $1.2 million, but only $700,000 will be paid with taxpayer money thanks to grants, The Ardmoreite reported in June.
But as time before the anticipated move of early November dwindles, pressure has revved up to put phones on the desks.
“Five weeks to get the equipment ordered and implemented is very aggressive, said AT&T contractors. “I’m not sure it’s very attainable. We may have to come up with an alternate
plan in the meantime, and to be honest with you, we don’t know what that is right now.”
AT&T contractors present at Monday’s commission meeting said a timeframe of at least two and a half months would be more reasonable.
The county has already signed a contract to put circuits in place for new phones, but the collection and importation of data from landlines to an updated system meeting industry standards is what will extend installation time, according to AT&T. They also need to assure that vital resources like 911 dispatch properly function.
Priority was assigned to getting phones up and running in the new commission building as soon as possible. Other county facilities will likely take more time to see the phone updates, especially the Carter County Courthouse, due to a disorderly phone system that will have to be completely revised, according to AT&T.
“We have flexibility timewise with everything other than (the new commission building),” said commissioner Jerry Alvord. “These entities moving is our primary concern, not that any of the others are lesser. We just struggle with this one.”
Commissioners deliberated before ultimately deciding to go ahead with AT&T. While the timeframe isn’t ideal, it remains the county’s only option.
“If it doesn’t (get done by Nov. 1), then we’re trapped — we just wait,” Alvord said. “We’re at their mercy if the equipment isn’t here by that day. We’ll just have to play it by ear, there isn’t a Plan B.”