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New postage system will cut costs

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

BENTON - Savings from Scott County's new postage system should end up taking care of half the county's cost.

The new postage machine will be fully digital and exceeds current and future requirements, according to Sandy Nuyt, mailing and shipping consultant for the Pitney Bowes company.

"The new ones offer a lot more features," she said, offering as examples auto-dating features and updates which are downloaded through a standard phone line ranging from refills for postage to rate changes.

Nuyt said all postage machines must be up to digital standards by 2006 anyway.

The county's present machine, which it has had since 1992, is strictly mechanical. "They have been out since '80, '82," said Nuyt.

County Clerk Rita Milam said the county's old machine "is on its last leg."

During their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners agreed to a four and a half year lease of a mailing system with the "weigh on the way" feature and a 30-pound scale for a total of $32,508.

The lease includes unlimited training and all service, Nuyt said.

Normally the cost would total $37,800 without the governmental discount, according to Nuyt. "With governments, normally cost is an issue," she said.

The sole bidder, Nuyt also offered a system without a "weigh on the way" feature and a 10-pound scale for a total of $27,216 but advised the extra feature usually results in a savings of 10 percent for customers.

Scott County sends about $3,500 worth of mail each month.

The cost for the lease is calculated as $602 per month for 54 months but is billed quarterly, Nuyt said. She predicted that with the 100-percent accuracy from using the "weigh on the way" feature, which works even with mixed sizes and weights, the county should save 10 percent, or $352, monthly.

"That saves half our payment," said Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel.

The system enables the county to send priority mail and certified mail electronically which meets the same legal requirements as regular certified mail while eliminating the $1.75 cost for a registered mail receipt.

The feature officials seemed most enthusiastic about, however, is the ability to set up accounts and passwords for multiple users so usage can be tracked.

"It's at the point now we need to know how many pieces of mail go through each office," Milam said.

Nuyt predicted this will save the county money on postage as users will be more careful knowing officials are keeping a closer eye on it.

It will take about two weeks for technicians to come install it, Nuyt said.

County officials plan to assign codes while waiting for the machine to arrive. "They're going to have to use it the first day," Milam said.

In other business during Tuesday's County Commission meeting:

* County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger advised commissioners of a recent visit with Don Chance, administrator of the Mississippi County Detention Center, to discuss video arraignment for Mississippi County.

"He said the commissioners there were favorable to it," Schwaninger said.

Schwaninger also confirmed that Mississippi County has its own law library fund.

One item brought up during the meeting was the possibility of a wireless system between the courthouse and jail rather than running fiberoptic lines underground for several blocks.

* Commissioners will not meet Tuesday in the County Commission meeting room due to the municipal election, but will instead tour the county's roads with Harlan Duncan, county road and bridge department supervisor.