IT plan, holiday lighting votes expected during town meeting

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Included in the town of Wrightsville Beach’s Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget was funding set aside for a number of Information Technology improvements for the town including server virtualization, hosted Microsoft Exchange implementation and the purchase of a copier for Town Hall. 

Town manager Tim Owens has requested that the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen provide direction for the implementation of the IT improvements at its Thursday, July 11, meeting. 

The total costs for the three projects are $60,500 for the server virtualization, $26,000 for the hosted Exchange implementation and $13,100 for the Town Hall copier. 

Town IT manager Raquel Ivins created a five year IT plan for the town that was submitted to eight IT professional service companies, four of which responded including eGroup, ePlus Technology, Team ia and Infranet.

Ivins’ five-year plan cites the town’s need to move to a hybrid cloud and onsite based computing and data storage system. Also listed are updates to Microsoft Office software, a website redesign and the development of a hardware replacement schedule. 

In his materials for the Thursday meeting Owens provides three possible options the board can choose from for IT improvements: authorize town staff to generate a Request For Proposals for the server virtualization and hosted Exchange implementation to be reviewed and approved by the board and with a staff recommendation; allow staff to send out a RFP after Thursday’s meeting and select a group of companies to make presentations at a board meeting; or the creation of a task force to review the submittals and meet with and select 3-5 companies to present to the board. 

Regardless of its decision, Owens said the final decision is still several months away. 

While the Christmas season may also be several months away, the Harbor Island Garden Club has requested that the town consider purchasing additional holiday pole lights to add to the 20 already installed during the season. 

At a cost of roughly $1,000 per light from Mosca Design, Owens calculated the cost of purchasing and installing an additional twelve lights to be $15,000, which the town could seek reimbursement for from New Hanover County’s Room Occupancy Tax fund if the purchase is deemed to be a reimbursable expense. Similarly, the town already receives an annual reimbursement for North Carolina Holiday Flotilla expenses from ROT funding. 

The board will also decide whether or not to accept the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board’s recommendation to uphold the town’s current outdoor lighting ordinance to include a time frame when holiday lighting is allowed. 

The town’s current residential decorative lighting ordinance prohibits any outdoor lighting using lamps brighter than 36 watts, or lighting that creates up-lighting, light trespass onto adjoining properties, or with bulbs that can be viewed from a public right of way. 

With essentially all holiday lights matching those prohibited uses, town planner Eryn Moller said she believed the town could enforce the ordinance effectively as is and on a complaint-driven basis, which the planning board agreed with at its April 11 meeting. 

The issue was brought to the planning board at the behest of a member of the board of aldermen during the final review of the town’s Unified Development Ordinance. 

Thursday the Board of Alderman will also appoint a new member to the planning board to fill former member Walt DeVries’ unexpired term. As of press time only North Channel Drive resident Michael Edmonds had submitted an application for that board.

email cole@luminanews.com 


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