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LOCKPORT – Niagara County is planning to spend an estimated $2.3 million to replace every telephone in every county office.

The project is scheduled for late 2014, Chuck Greeson, county information technology project manager, told the County Legislature’s Administration Committee on Tuesday.

The package would replace 1,300 telephones and 400 other phone-related devices, Greeson said. The county’s current Nortel Networks phones are about 15 years old and are managed by the county Public Works Department.

The new system will use voice-over-Internet technology, Greeson said.

The committee approved a $74,500 contract to Cannon Design of Grand Island to design the new system, including where the new cables should go, Greeson said. That deal goes to the full Legislature next week.

Cannon was the second-lowest of six bidders, but Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, pointed out that the county has a professional services policy that gives preference to bidders from Niagara or adjacent counties.

The lowest bid, $70,400, came from ECC Technologies of Penfield.

Another reason for choosing Cannon, Greeson said, was that it has engineers who are familiar with repairs made to the county phone network in recent years.

Greeson said the winner of the consulting contract won’t be allowed to bid on supplying the hardware for the new system.

In other business Tuesday, the committee accepted County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz’s reappointment of County Real Property Services Director John E. Shoemaker for a new six-year term.

If confirmed by the full Legislature Tuesday, Shoemaker would be signed up until Sept. 30, 2019.

The resolution sets his pay throughout the term. His current salary of $68,028 would remain in place through the end of 2014. Starting in 2015, Shoemaker would receive an annual 2.5 percent raise, meaning that by 2019, Shoemaker would be earning $76,967 a year.

Shoemaker, the former Town of Lockport assessor, took over for William F. Budde Jr. in March 2011. Shoemaker’s pay when he joined the county was $64,753.

Also Tuesday, the committee gave County Treasurer Kyle R. Andrews the go-ahead to set up credit card payments in all county departments that request it.

The county already takes plastic for tax bills. Andrews said, “A priority since I became treasurer is to open it up to credit cards, not just in the Treasurer’s Office but in other departments.”

Shannon Giove, systems accounting manager, said the county incurs no cost for taking credit cards because a $2.50 fee for every $100 charged is added to the customer’s bill.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com