LIMESTONE, Maine — Members of the Limestone Select Board unanimously voted to obtain a new phone system for municipal offices during their March 6 meeting. Keith Wilcox of Northern Business Products told the board that the system would cost the town $200 monthly, in addition to the one-time cost of buying and installing the phones, but that it would save the town $1,000 in the first year.
Before accepting the bid, the board members asked Wilcox about how the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system would benefit the town.
Wilcox said he “put in [Limestone’s] old phone system” and has taken care of the network for over ten years. Then he said this upgrade would cut town’s bill in half and that while VoIP systems formerly had a bad reputation, they are now “cheaper than ever” and calls could be transferred from one department, such as the fire or police department, to another.
“It’s a very simple system,” he said.
Selectman Chris Durepo asked about the terms of the contract.
“It’s a three year contract,” Wilcox said, “which is the best pricing I can give.”
Limestone Town Manager Elizabeth Dickerson said the three year contract would cost the town $199 a month while the price for a two year contract is $299. Durepo then asked her how the town could make sure other companies are bidding on the same contract.
She said a request for proposal was sent out by a former interim town manager, likely Paul Beaulieu, and that it was for the exact contract that Wilcox bid on. From there, Dickerson interviewed the three closest bids, and decided to bring Wilcox to the meeting because his bid came in lower, provides “better services,” and also because Northern Business Products already provides internet service for municipal departments in Limestone.
Durepo asked if the town would need to buy anything else for the program, and Wilcox said they would only need to buy the phones, since that would be cheaper than leasing them for $20 a month.
Other than that, Wilcox said there are “no crazy jumps” or additional monthly fees, and that even after paying to buy and install the phones, the town will still save “almost $1,000 in the first year.”
After some discussion about the pros and cons of VoIP phone services versus a traditional copper wire landline phone configuration, the town unanimously voted in favor of accepting the Northern Business Products bid.