By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Reporter
Technology has helped many governments get things done quicker and more efficiently in recent years.
The City of Fort Thomas has taken full advantage of many of them. The city government uses Time Warner as its Internet provider. The speeds are 50 megabits per second (Mbps) downloaded from the internet to the computers and 5 Mbps uploaded from the computers to the Internet. The City also uses Microsoft Windows as its operating system.
“Highlights include allowing our Police and Fire departments to communicate with peers and constituents in an immediate and as-needed basis,” said Don Martin, City Administrative Officer. “That has allowed our purchasing department to research to find the best items at the best prices and allowed our City to announce city-wide events and emergencies.”
Fort Thomas has also taken advantage of a popular e-mail system known as Microsoft Outlook. The latest version of it is 2010. That lets people organize e-mails into specific folders. For instance, a mayor could organize e-mails from the fire chief into one folder and e-mails from the chief of police into another one.
“It provides a full-featured interface, powerful searching, in-house and offsite access, and long-term retention,” Martin said.
The City uses these and other technologies to perform huge duties. One is keeping track of tax payments from residents.
“We use Property Systems, which was custom written for our needs,” Martin said of keeping track of tax payments. “In recent years, we have introduced OCR payment receipt which allows quicker access to funds, eliminates input errors and greatly reduces manual input time requirements.”
Martin and the City know about the risks of using the Internet. One is the Internet can go out. Martin said the City does not have a backup plan if that happens.
“However, the Police and Fire departments have radio redundancy,” Martin said. “The Internet backup options for our level of required bandwidth are too costly, especially when the high level of Internet reliability is considered (less than five hours of known downtime over the last five years).”
There are also security risks involved. Hackers often work around the clock to get into private systems.