Cheshire and Apex Technology agree to new contract

CHESHIRE — Earlier this summer, city council members unanimously supported the signing of a new three-year contract with the information technology company that has been with the city since 2011.

Last month, council members voted to contract with Apex Technology Group for technology services for both the city and the school district.

The annual cost will be $331,080, with a term running from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. The new contract is costing the city $93,000 more annually than its recent terms with Apex.

Steve Carroll, president of the city’s technology study group, said the city originally employed two IT technicians. However, when the study group was formed in 2011, Carroll, along with other city officials, determined that the approach was not effective.

“Around 2011, the city manager asked me to get involved in the technology study group and it quickly became apparent that the state of our technology in Cheshire was something akin to a dumpster fire,” Carroll reflected. “If it wasn’t broken, it was going to break soon. That’s when the technology group came into being.”

The technology group employed Apex as consultants, tasked with identifying “critical elements” that needed to be addressed, according to Carroll.

“They stuck with it and we’ve really addressed everything up to this point,” Carroll said. “I think we have a top-tier network.”

Carroll added that hiring two technicians now, which would be high-level positions and would require benefits, would cost the Town at least $350,000 per year. Not only would it be expensive to hire two new employees, but their knowledge would be limited.

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“They’re not going to know everything about everything because there aren’t two technicians or two people in the world who know everything about everything,” Carroll said. “What you gain with Apex is that you get access to all of their experience.”

Apex and the technology study group already have plans to further improve technology services in the city, including implementing disaster recovery, which would allow the city to use cloud services to recover lost data.

Apex also proposed the co-location of a data center, which Carroll said the city doesn’t have the infrastructure or space to house due to specific requirements like temperature, humidity and fire prevention.

“We don’t really have the environmental wherewithal to support that here, unless you want to make a capital investment,” Carroll said.

Co-locating elsewhere “alleviates upstream and downstream capital spending” that the city would otherwise have to invest, Carroll added.

Councilman Peter Talbot, who is also part of the tech group, agreed with Carroll.

“The council has been very supportive of equity money over the years,” Talbot said. “In the beginning, there were a lot of (higher funding requests) but we’ve gotten ourselves, in the 11 years, we’ve gotten into the maintenance state instead of getting up to speed to fix everything.”

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