Brookhaven looks to upgrade outdated phone system, reduce town costs

Brookhaven Town Hall Brookhaven Town Hall Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

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Brookhaven officials are considering installing an Internet-based phone system at Town Hall and other offices in a move they say would save money and improve the town's communication system.

The system, if approved on Tuesday by the town board, would cost about $1.6 million over 13 years, for an estimated savings of about $130,000 per year, according to officials from Bowne Management Systems of Mineola and Core BTS, a national information technology company with offices in Garden City and Hauppauge.

The companies jointly proposed building the new network, which would replace most of the current phone system, provided by Verizon.

Representatives of Bowne and Core BTS said during a presentation to the town board during a work session Thursday that their system would be capable of receiving as many as 192 calls per minute during emergencies.

The town currently uses a "basic, aging phone system" that is capable of handling about 42 calls per minute, they said. The new system would be installed by early next year.

The Internet phone system would be able to continue operating in the town highway and parks departments if Town Hall loses power, said Matt Pomara, Core BTS regional vice president. Those departments lose phone service if the Town Hall system shuts down, he said.

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Brookhaven Chief of Operations Ed Morris said the new phones would not be installed at some offices, such as the municipal landfill and the animal shelter, both in Brookhaven hamlet.

Verizon did not respond to the town's invitation to submit a proposal for an upgraded phone system, a town spokesman said. A Verizon spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

Core BTS' clients include the South Country, Patchogue-Medford, Mineola and Islip school districts, the Village of Rockville Centre and Westchester County, Pomara said.

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In addition to replacing its phone system, the town has eliminated 200 phone lines because of staff cuts, town officials said. The town uses about 800 phone lines, including those for fax machines and emergency alarms, Morris said.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said eliminating phone lines would help reduce town spending.

"The town had 200 more phones than it needed," he said. "We are trying to right-size government, and we are looking at all the functions that we're doing."

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