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City cuts down on staff BlackBerry cell phones

The city has reduced the number of staff BlackBerry cell phones in an effort to cut costs.

At the same time, council is working on a new mobile services contract for the city’s BlackBerrys, standard cell phones, wireless USB devices, and iPads that would save the city several thousand dollars.

Before awarding the contract, Coun. Larry Samson wanted to know whether a reduction in cell phones would lower the cost of proposals from Bell, Telus and Rogers.

“If we were to reduce the BlackBerrys would we see a correlating drop in the amount?” Samson asked during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Warren Kalyn, the city’s information services manager, said the city had already cut down on cell phones.

“There’s already been a reduction in the number,” Kalyn said. “Initially we had 119 but the BlackBerrys have been reduced by 20 so we have approximately 99 BlackBerrys in total.”

This is the second time the city has reduced its number of cell phones.

In November 2011 phones were eliminated for an annual savings of $5,000 after a review into the city’s usage and number of devices.

The new wireless services contract is expected to increase savings further.

The city projects it will reduce costs by nearly 30 per cent over the current contract, or $70,000 over three years.

“Through the competitive process, staff has been able to significantly reduce expenses while increasing services and streamlining efficiencies,” said Clinton Crook, senior buyer for the city, in a report to council.

Though Telus had the lowest monthly charges at $4,645 council went with Bell which charges $4,915 per month as it scored the highest in qualifications, presentation, proposal, and budget all combined.

Rogers’ monthly charges were $4,920.

“Bell Mobility received the highest overall score and therefore staff recommend award to Bell Mobility at a cost of $176,940 over the 36-month term,” Crook said.

“The individual evaluations were calculated and each proponent was given a score, with the highest overall score indicating the best value for the city.”

However, some councillors were uncomfortable awarding the contract without more information.

Coun. Ron Kerr said he would like a report on the number of wireless devices the city owns and Samson said he was concerned because the city just finished locking into a five-year garbage and recycling contract.

Coun. Marry Storry on the other hand was eager to accept Bell’s proposal.

“I’m in a hurry to get a 29 per cent savings,” she said.

“I realize there is some flexibility if we reduce the number of BlackBerries in the future.”

Council voted to award the contract to Bell with Mayor Walter Jakeway and councillors Kerr and Samson opposed.

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