The Houston County Commission approved spending $16,063 to purchase an electronic queuing system for the tax commissioner’s office during a short board meeting Tuesday evening.
Tax Commissioner Mark Kushinka requested the customer flow system to alleviate the need for customers to stand in line when visiting the office to pay tag fees, property taxes or seek information.
The office has recently been renovated, adding a customer reception area where people may sit while waiting for assistance. The electronic queuing system will allow them to enter some basic information in a terminal about their requested business, then be seated until the appropriate clerk calls them to their work station via a LED display that will show their number.
Kushinka was unable to be at the meeting, so Commissioner Tom McMichael outlined the benefits of the system, which will be provided by Nemo-Q. He said it would save on heating and air costs by preventing the doors having to be open to accommodate the line of people. It would provide better customer service, and it would provide a more relaxed working environment. The system will also allow him to track the work by his staff, seeing how long it takes them to serve customers.
McMichael pointed out that Kushinka had requested a similar system for this year’s budget, but it cost about $40,000 and was cut. McMichael also said Kuskinka underspent his budget by about $25,000 last year and expects to underspend this year’s by at least the $16,000 to cover the cost of the system.
In the meantime, the money to purchase it will come from the county’s contingency fund. County Administrator Steve Engle said more than $300,000 will remain in the contingency fund even with the system purchase.
In other action, the board approved low bids for three other purchases:•$57,201 from CSM Construction Co. for replacement storm water pipes in Statham’s Landing.
•$27,603 from Five Star Ford in Warner Robins for a 2009 Ford F-350 crew cab flatbed truck for the Roads & Bridges department.
•A new six-month contract with Mansfield Oil Co. for motor fuel for county vehicles and heavy equipment. Mansfield’s bid was for a .0138 cents-per-gallon markup on the OPIS average daily price for unleaded plus 89 octane gasoline and a .0175 markup on ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.
To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 744-4489.