Sussex Borough is getting a new internet-based telephone system designed to make work and communication easier for both residents and employees.
The borough council last Thursday unanimously approved entering a three-year lease with Information Systems Group of Hamburg for $446 a month, which covers equipment and service.
“This is going to be a major improvement for our residents, and I really appreciate everyone’s work on this,” Mayor Edward Meyer said.
Councilman Mario Poggi said the new telecommunications system will allow borough employees to work from home, a need highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees can make and receive phone calls and faxes from home, just as if they were in the office.
“We need to get this done as we’ve seen because of Covid,” said Poggi, who spearheaded the search for a provider. “We have staff that have children and need to stay at home, and they have to keep in communication with the public.”
The system is completely “cloud-based,” meaning no data will be stored at borough hall. “If we ever lost borough hall to a fire or a flood, we could go down the street, plug in a laptop, and we’re back,” Council President Robert Holowach said.
The new system also contains an automated telephone directory that will transfer callers to the department they want to reach. “That’s a huge plus to the office,” Poggi said. “They only field calls that they should be fielding.”
The only equipment the borough needs are the telephones, which are included in the monthly price. Even the desk telephones are portable. “If you wanted to, you could take one home, plug it into your laptop and use it almost as if you were in borough hall,” Poggi said.
The plan would cost about $6 less per month than the borough’s current telephone plan. Employees would have access to features that are included, even if they never needed to use them.
The borough will be able to disconnect eight Service Electric phone lines at borough hall, and three CenturyLink lines, one at the water plant and two at the Department of Public Works.
Poggi said he wants to have the new system installed by winter. “I think this is a big plus and has many more features than you could ever use right now,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t need them in the future, and they’re not pay for use.”
“We need to get this done and we’ve seen because of Covid. We have staff that have children and need to stay at home, and they have to keep in communication with the public.” Councilman Mario Poggi