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Computer system getting costlier

City officials say $1.2-million contract has nearly doubled because of added features.

November 29, 2010|By Melanie Hicken,

CITY HALL — The cost of updating an internal city computer system has nearly doubled since the original $1.2-million contract was approved, but officials say it's still less expensive than other alternatives.

Just last week, the City Council approved a roughly $100,000 change order with EdgeSoft Inc., the firm installing the updated permitting and licensing computer system.

It was the seventh change order approved in recent years, bringing the total tab for the system — called City Services Interface — to $2.2 million.


"These are not the same features that are costing us more, but we are adding additional features," said Mayor Ara Najarian.

About 150 employees in the city's community planning and fire departments use the system for tasks, including all building and safety permitting, code enforcement and annual Fire Department inspections of local businesses.

City officials in 2007 recommended buying the new interface to replace the city's current system, which they said was outdated and not able to support remote Internet access.

The system was slated to be completed early last year, but it has been delayed repeatedly as officials try to migrate to the new program.

The portion of the system used by the Building & Safety Division went live last month.

"We underestimated the poor quality of the data that was in the old system," said Information Services Director Ed Fraga, who joined the department in June 2009. "When we brought it over, it just didn't work."

Despite the delays and added costs, city officials say EdgeSoft's system is still the best available option.

"This is still less expensive than the alternatives that we looked at way back then," Fraga said. "We bought this with the expectation that there would be additions to it."

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