Flexibility saves Union County thousands - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Flexibility saves Union County thousands

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UNION CO -- Government leaders have found a way to save thousands in spending from their budget, while other counties struggle to make ends meet, something that's become especially bad because of the Illinois budget crisis.

Union County leaders have found a way to save thousands by changing utility services within the County Courthouse. The county's Chief Information Officer, Rollie Hawk, switched the courthouse electricity over to a new provider to start the savings.

"Because of the reduction in rates that they can offer, and kind of where the market is right now, we're looking at saving $5,000 over the next twelve months if usage stays about the same place it is right now," said Hawk.

The savings didn't stop there. Hawk managed to adjust internet and phone services, not only saving the county an additional $600 each month, but also boosting internet speeds tremendously. He says short-term utility contracts allow him to make money-saving adjustments each year.

"And so we try to keep our contracts as short as possible, especially in government when you have new elected officials coming and going, that you don't want anybody strapped down to some agreement that somebody else signed on to," Hawk continued.

In all, Hawk says the adjustments will save the county around $14,000 in the next fiscal year, and he knows where he might best put that money to use.

"Well I'd love to be able to, in the next year, be able to allocate some of that to upgrading some of our computer systems, and that sort of thing," Hawk said. "Again, with budgets' tight, a lot of times, we just have to get by with what we can."

Hawk calls a computer system upgrade, "long overdue", and hopes to get the ball rolling on those upgrades in the coming year. Hawk says Union County's centralized IT department also helps save money, because instead of calling contractors to fix problems, county workers can address them and fix them with less cost.

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