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Seems like a lot of money…I thought “we” were broke?

This is from the upcoming City Council Agenda for 04/25/11

$450,000 for computers?  I suppose they have to keep up with the $800 chairs each councilor has.  Anyone who works in technology / retail, does this seem like a lot of money?

11-0191R – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH CITON COMPUTER CORPORATION FOR THE PURCHASE AND DELIVERY OF LENOVO COMPUTER HARDWARE (LAPTOPS) AND RELATED EQUIPMENT AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011, NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $150,000.

11-0194R – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH INSIGHT PUBLIC SECTOR, INC., FOR COMPUTER HARDWARE AND RELATED PRODUCTS AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011 NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $100,000.

11-0196R – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH SOFTWARE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL (SHI), INC., FOR COMPUTER SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011, NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $200,000.

you can view the whole thing here

http://www.duluthmn.gov/clerk/council/agenda11/a110425.htm

42 Comments

Jimbo

about 9 years ago

Nice to see that Duluth doesn't even support Duluth business...

11-0207R - RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH DODGE OF BURNSVILLE FOR THE PURCHASE AND DELIVERY OF EIGHT 2011 DODGE CHARGER V-6 VEHICLES FOR USE AS FULLY-MARKED POLICE SQUADS IN THE AMOUNT OF $181,644.

nodnetni

about 9 years ago

Not knowing what their network is like, its hard to say. 

But at $150,000 for laptops that should cover right around 75 to 100 new laptops @ $1500 to to $2000 each.

Tom

about 9 years ago

JUST SO YOU KNOW, IT'S REALLY ANNOY TO READ WHEN EVERYTHING IS IN CAPS LIKE THAT.

@ndy

about 9 years ago

@Jimbo Name a Duluth dealer that offers the same product at the same price and I'm sure our city council would be more than happy to support a Duluth business. Otherwise, it is a bit difficult to attack the city for going with the lowest bidder considering the budget shortfalls.

nodnetni

about 9 years ago

"Nice to see that Duluth doesn't even support Duluth business..."

At the cost of these items, I am sure they had to take bids or Dodge of Burnsville has already negotiated with the state on costs.

Citon is a locally owned company.

Vicarious

about 9 years ago

Tom - I agree. But it's safe to assume B-man just copied and pasted from the Duluth city website. I wouldn't fault him for not re-typing everything in lowercase.

Larry

about 9 years ago

Isn't Duluth Dodge in Hermantown?

Tom

about 9 years ago

Vicarious - I know.  It's still just annoying though.

Larry - no.  Duluth Dodge is well within Duluth city limits.

Shane

about 9 years ago

Duluth Dodge is indeed in Hermantown. Haines road is the boundary.

Shane

about 9 years ago

A business grade laptop is around $1,500. Why the city needs 100 of them, I have no idea.

rnarum

about 9 years ago

In 2008, the City of Duluth had 851 full time employees (based upon their website).

Is $450,000 a lot of money? Well. It is to me.

However, I believe that you have posed the question in a relatively unfair way... since there is not enough information to properly formulate an answer. 

What is included in the 450K? What is the anticipated life of the devices, and how many years of service and maintenance is included? What sorts of machines? Laptops only? High end GIS workstations? Mainframe systems? 

Keep in mind that Enterprise computer requirements are generally not satisfied by the likes of Best Buy. 

For an enterprise the size of Duluth, $450,000 is NOT very much money.

Is the City of Duluth acting responsibly on our behalf? It is fair to ask that question... Me personally? I believe that they are.

edgeways

about 9 years ago

yeah... I gotta agree with the narumster on this, in the absence of contradictory evidence 1/2 million (while a big number) for computers and software for a city this size is not necessarily out of line. That is all contingent upon use purpose, life, number of, and so on. 100 laptops also doesn't seem out of line.

It's good to ask the questions, the scale is a lot bigger then what we are use to dealing with as individuals though.

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

But...do they really need them to keep up with this blog, email, and their facebook accounts? 

C'mon, it's not like this city is doing much more with their PC's. Screw them needing laptops - they'll just take them home for personal use, and load them up with porn and viruses. bow chica bow bow.

Plus, the Google run is over. Heck they could downscale to some basic boxes loaded with XP or 2000  (on dial-up) for as fast as they work anyway. 

Hint: *Check Freecycle for Donations*

Or...they could pony up monies from their own pockets - like teachers have to for basic supplies.

AND as it states: "AND RELATED EQUIPMENT AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011" - well, we're about to enter May, the 5th month, so that price should be further reduced on any 'new' purchase.

I vote NO.

deafyet

about 9 years ago

Ya..and lets get the guy who controls the city gas grid an Atari 64k..cuz what does he need with clock speed anyway..

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

eggszachery...or wait, they could assign a 'second' gas grid controller...in case he falls asleep with his wii in his hand.

Ben Damman

about 9 years ago

@ruby2sd4y The google run is NOT over.

Tux

about 9 years ago

What I think is questionable is the lack of serious consideration of open source alternatives. We're still locking into proprietary solutions.

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

*pats* Ben on the back - there, there...Keep the faith bro. don't stop believin'!.

*snirk*

Tom

about 9 years ago

Shane, I believe Haines Road is only the boundary between Duluth and Hermantown part of the way.  The airport is on the other side of Haines, but it is definitely in Duluth.  

Duluth Dodge's official website, as well as all other listings for it, lists the address as 4755 Miller Trunk Hwy 53 Duluth, MN 55811.

Adem

about 9 years ago

Criminy. Just read "Duluth business" as "local business" like everyone else did. Looking up a Hermantown car dealer's address just gets in the way of the other things you're supposed to be annoyed with. (Your real argument should be that they are called Duluth Dodge.)(Either way they are still in Htown.)(oh shiiiiit)

I for one always support local business by never ever shopping online. Ever. Except almost always.

I think the key is "AND RELATED EQUIPMENT" which could mean just about anything. Baby seal leather mousepads and ivory back-scratchers, most likely. Or maybe just cheap mice and cases. But probably the baby seal thing.

Greg

about 9 years ago

Haines Rd is the boundary.  Duluth Dodge is in Hermantown.  However, the airport is in Duluth.  The land was annexed from Hermantown.

Wes Scott

about 9 years ago

This is America in general, we are broke and in fiscal distress but we keep spending like we have the bucks. The bills have come due but we still aren't looking at the problem. But we need this or that! Schools all over are in deep trouble. Duluth knows this better then other cities.

zra

about 9 years ago

we're not broke. we keep giving people *with* money more money, and putting the burden of making up the shortfall on those who don't.

it's the corporate welfare, stupid.

Jimbo

about 9 years ago

$450,000 is not that much money.

It's also out of context: how many computers, and for what, is this intended to purchase? How old are the ones that are being replaced?

Miles A. Broad

about 9 years ago

They're all replicas of the captain's chair on the USS Enterprise aren't they? If it's true the chairs cost 800 bucks they should all be auctioned off to Google, replaced with three dollar goodwill chairs, and council members made to drink city tap water during meetings, which is probably less harmful than the plastic dose they get in bottled water anyway.  The computers shouldn't be anything more than a few Mr. Professors.  And if I don't hear the phrase, "what Lakeside needs now is a drink" after the next city council meeting, I'm turning the dogs loose.

Henry Jenkins

about 9 years ago

Unless 'business' requires you to run Crysis on high, a 'business grade' laptop should not cost you more that $400-$600.

Shane

about 9 years ago

Business grade laptops are more expensive. This is due to being more durable than the $400-600 consumer models. They often have metal construction, security encryption chips docking ports and can handle being banged around more than cheap laptops. The models are also not refreshed as often by the manufacturers, so as to have parts available longer.

zra

about 9 years ago

half a million potholes in this town says that cash could be better spent elsewhere...

B-man

about 9 years ago

I am curious as to what the scope of the computer budget is as well.  Most of the time I come in contact with a city employee I end up showing them how to use the $1500 laptop they are carrying. I use a $350 one.  Just sayin.  

oh and the chairs or Herman Miller Aeron Chairs, the Amazon listing has the "basic" one @ $679 each.  They are great, I have them in my office at home..too bad I couldn't get all of you to pay for them.

Bad Cat!

about 9 years ago

All other financial issues aside, spending more money on a higher-quality business-class laptop will cost less than purchasing cheap consumer-grade laptops.
1 - You can't buy low-end crap and expect it to be useful for years to come. Laptops are near-impossible to upgrade anything other than ram, so if you buy one, you're pretty much locked in with the tech you get at the time. True they may not be playing high-graphics video games, but they are probably working extremely large databases, need to have multiple programs open, and need to be able to keep up to date with any software advances that might be required (like if the state upgrades it's tax submission software and things like that.
2 - Business-grade laptops are a completely different beast than a consumer-grade laptop. I personally purchase business-grade laptops for personal use because they use higher-quality components, higher-quality hardware design, are more hardy when it comes being abused, come with uber-tech support and don't come pre-installed with "Try AOL for 30 days!" software. I may or may not work at a very large local business which tried to use a lower-class PC instead of business-grade PCs and came to realize what a complete shit business-decision that was. As soon as they came off the docks, about 5% broken right off, the survivors had horrible performance, warranty repairs took forever, and they died horrible deaths ahead of the average PC lifespan (then add the cost of downtime, lost data and frustrated employees). Now that they've moved to business-grade equipment, they get hardy equipment, top-notch tech support, great warranty repair and a long lifespan. Sure nice computers cost more upfront, but the cost is worth it over the lifespan.

Bad Cat!

about 9 years ago

Oh, and office chairs really are that expensive. Yea, you can go to walmart and come out of there with a $30 computer chair, but you're going to hate yourself if you have to spend 40 hours a week in it.

Bob

about 9 years ago

$450k is well within a typical spend for a municipal government for this much hardware. Besides the fact that they are buying business grade computers, they are also buying enterprise level-support, which includes, but is not limited to, replacement parts, warranties and phone/email support.

Regarding the purchase of the marked Dodges for the DPD, it should be noted that not all dealers offer the police package, and the city should and will bid for these cars to get the lowest price.

Bob

about 9 years ago

All this line item scrutiny of the budget is laughable. Almost half of the readers know nothing about technology, and almost the other half think City of Duluth employees should be able to support their own computers instead of, say, doing their core job.

I'll solve all of Duluth's budget woes in three words: Cut. Pension. Obligations. Line item that, gentle readers.

zra

about 9 years ago

Careful with your assumptions there, Bob. It's all to easy to make them when you don't know anyone on any particular listserv...but this ain't that kind of blog. 

Their computers may be necessary, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

In light of a comment that Cat made a post ago, my grandpa always told me that a poor man can't afford to buy cheap shit.

-Berv

about 9 years ago

"Cut...Obligations."  Nice. Promise an employee better benefits in exchange for a lower salary, wait for them to retire, and then reneg. Real nice.

B-man

about 9 years ago

So the council tabled the measures

11-0190R - RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH SEH, INC., FOR ELECTRICAL AND LIGHTING ENGINEERING SERVICES ASSOCIATED WITH THE LINCOLN PARK WEST DULUTH LIGHTING IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT FOR AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $26,800. -- AMENDED & PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

11-0191R - RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH CITON COMPUTER CORPORATION FOR THE PURCHASE AND DELIVERY OF LENOVO COMPUTER HARDWARE (LAPTOPS) AND RELATED EQUIPMENT AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011, NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $150,000. -- TABLED

11-0194R - RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH INSIGHT PUBLIC SECTOR, INC., FOR COMPUTER HARDWARE AND RELATED PRODUCTS AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011 NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $100,000. -- TABLED

11-0196R - RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH SOFTWARE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL (SHI), INC., FOR COMPUTER SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE AS NEEDED IN YEAR 2011, NOT TO EXCEED THE BUDGET ALLOCATION OF $200,000. -- TABLED 



looks like someone else has a few questions about it too.

B-man

about 9 years ago

@ Bad Cat!  I would bet that the majority of people in this town who have a desk job did not spend more that $150 on the chair they are sitting in.  Councilors meet once per week for a few hours.  They could sit on milk crates for that long, so your argument for their ergonomics and comfort is thin.  People who have spent more than $500 on a chair have every right to do so especially if it is a private business spending the money.  

I'm tired of the official line from the "man" stating that "we don't have any money to keep services open for the people most in need" and then purchase extravagant chairs to spend 12 hours a month in.  this is the whole point of this post.  Is this much $ NEEDED by the city for computers, or are they spending this much because no one really cares how much they spend on themselves? and F those other people.

IF the purchase is NEEDED then I agree with many other posts about not buying cheap junk.  But as I stated earlier, some people have no use for a laptop beyond using IE8, so why pay for the upgrades?

It is also odd that no city officials have chimed in to this thread, I have seen plenty of involvement on PDD from them in the past.....anyone?

Bad Cat!

about 9 years ago

I've worked at a few places that have had to order office chairs, and am bloody amazed that they cost so much! We're not talking extravagant aeron chairs or something with nice CEO leather on it, I'm talking "chair with back, goes up, goes down, has arm rests" are seriously $500-$1000 dollars. The very basic chair I'm sitting in right now is $658! And trust me when I say the company would not spend a dime more than it needed to in order to get me a nicer chair.
I'm not sure if office chairs actually deserve to cost that much more (maybe like business laptops, office chairs have much longer life-spans and full-coverage warranties, or maybe it's all a giant scam), but if the city of Duluth has to buy chairs, I guarantee that the chairs listed in their "city office supply catalog" are all $500+. Even if they wanted to spend the absolute minimum, it's still going to be several hundred dollars.

B-man

about 9 years ago

Well then that sucks.  Why can't they shop around like other businesses, and purchase chairs from Office Depot or some other big box outfit.  I work at a local private nonprofit and we are all sitting on donated furniture, or furniture purchased for a discounted price.

It's good enough for me but not for them? Maybe I need to be in a union too.

BTW I did a Google shopping search for "office chairs" and got a range of prices from $38-$1,071 -- it seems like the city is on the high end of the spectrum.

I'm sure it will all work out with an increase in my taxes, and no cuts for city employees level of computer technology or comfort.

Baci

about 9 years ago

As geeky as it may sound, open source and Linux make some sense? As for "local," open source is the epitome of local ... it shifts the money to local smarty pants and away from technological indenture to Redmond or Cupertino.

Bill

about 9 years ago

1. If the city is getting a 100 lap tops and the average price is $1,000-$1500 per laptop, then I would expect one hell of a discount for buying 100 of anything. If not you go somewhere else and find someone who wants to sell you a 100 laptops at a discount because of the volume you are helping them turn over. A very common business practice.
2.If these chairs cost as much as claimed then I expect them to be around 100 years from now (literally) Quality furniture can and does last 100 years. I just don't sense that these chairs will be around 100 years from now.
3. I am sitting in a $100 chair as I type this and it is working just fine. It has been used daily by many people for years and it works just fine. Go to Office Max!

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