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City Council Regular Meeting
Meeting Date: 04/05/2022  

This planned communications network will create the infrastructure needed to provide citizens and neighboring communities with access to the various community assets, governmental actions and other event and sites of interest through live and recorded streaming to a Public Education and Government channel (known as a PEG channel). Funding is made available through the use of PEG funds as allowed by Federal law regarding the use of PEG funds, and supplemented with funding from the ARP program recently passed by Congress in 2021. 

In addition, recent events have shown that the more an organization employs the use of remote and mobile technologies in managing assets and resources, the more efficient and productive that organization becomes as it deals with ever-changing circumstances. Providing field staff, for example with access to City resources where and when needed reduces travel time, fuel costs, vehicle maintenance expenses, etc. In addition, the capability to remotely manage and secure remote locations reduces staff management requirements saving direct employee costs without sacrificing the quality of services provided by the City. IT Department, in collaboration with other City stakeholders determined that the requirements for taking advantage of these emerging technologies hinges on the cost, quality and reliability of the communications network. A resilient, secure city-wide communications network capable of providing the connectivity necessary to support the City’s long-term strategic communications plans has been identified as one of the most important investments in the future that the City can make. The proposed Master Communications Plan is designed to meet current needs as well as address acknowledged challenges while providing a stable, scalable communications network for the future.
To install a City-wide communications network based on a combination of wireless and wired technologies that will connect all existing City assets while providing a cost-effective path for adding additional sites as required. Taking advantage of greater efficiencies offered by using high-speed wireless systems, we can effectively manage and monitor remote sites such as lift stations, pumping stations and water towers. In addition, we can use the proposed City-wide network to provide timely, targeted information to field staff wherever and whenever it’s needed by leveraging existing mobile technologies to safely and securely access City data resources directly from the field. Finally, with the addition of secured, high-speed wireless connectivity, Public Safety personnel can respond more effectively to situations as well as allow them to submit reports, update databases, etc. from the field.
There are several direct benefits realized by deploying the network as designed:
  1. By deploying and managing the network internally, as opposed to outsourcing our communications needs, the City will save more than $1 million over the anticipated life span of the system (10 years)
  2. Using wireless technologies to connect City assets directly is the most cost-effective way to knit the City together in a resilient, reliable network. This network, as proposed would be capable of expansion as needed with a minimal investment. New nodes can be added by merely adding low-cost high-speed radios at the site and pointing them at the closest collection point.
  3. Using existing mobile technologies over a City-owned secure City-wide network means providing real-time access to City resources by field staff. This ensures that they can stay in field longer, reducing travel time, fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear, etc. Staff can access email, access and modify information residing in systems such as InCode, Court, CAD/RMS, submit reports, print, etc. using this proposed network.
  4. The ability to remotely manage and secure City assets allows City staff to focus on taking care of business as opposed to having to visit each site manually to perform inspections, etc.
  5. This network will provide high-speed connectivity to areas such as parks, playgrounds and other remote City sites creating a platform for enhanced security monitoring and providing greater safety for our residents.
Staff recommends that Council direct the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Scientel, LLC of Aurora, I.L., in the amount of $565,835.00 with additional approval of funding not to exceed $595,835.00 to provide for contingencies. 
Staff has identified available funding by applying available “PEG” funds and supplementing this with funding from the ARP funds provided by Congress in 2021. The PEG fund is a dedicated fund that comes from fees paid to the City annually by the cable companies, and is designed to provide funding to municipalities to build the communications infrastructures needed to support the creation of content and other systems needed to manage the City's planned PEG channel. Currently, the fund has a balance of more than $900K. This fund is replenished annually by approximately $70K – $80K. The City will apply $150,000 from the ARP fund and the balance from the PEG funds. It is expected that the deployment will take place during the current FY and continue into the next FY and that funding from the PEG fund for the upcoming FY will be included in the 2022-2023 budget presented to Council later this year.
Staff recommends that Council to approve Resolution No. 22-R-35 authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Scientel, LLC of Aurora, I.L., in the amount of $565,835.00 with additional approval of funding not to exceed $595,835.00 to provide for contingencies. 
Schertz MCP Project
Scientel Resolution (2)
Resolution 22-R-35

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