Fredonia to implement new phone system

It is not as dramatic as the events that unfolded during last week’s special meeting with the vote on the regional water district, but the Fredonia Village Board plans on upgrading the village’s telephone system to better serve the community.

During the workshop portion of the regular meeting Monday, Ellen Ditonto and David Bleck of DFT Communications were on hand to discuss a quote for the new phone system. Bleck brought in an example of the updated handset that will be replacing all the old landlines throughout the village offices.

According to Ditonto, around July 23, one of the main central office cards that maintain the village’s phone lines crashed. DFT was able to implement a series of Band-Aid-like fixes to keep the system up and running. Currently, only one card is working. That card is located in the police department.

“The system is on its last life and the crash on the week of the 23rd really brought that to light,” Ditonto said. “There are no spare parts anymore for that system any longer. It was purchased in 1989 as a used system.”

“The way we understand it, we’re down to one card. If that card goes, we’re mute,” Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe said.

Once the new system is implemented, the village will be on a cloud-based, or VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), solution. In a VoIP system, the phones would work off a computer network switch.

As part of DFT’s quote, the village will have to pay $8,000 for installation labor, VoIP seat licenses, a firewall and proper wiring. As part of the service agreement, the village will pay about $1,065 per month for three years for recurring charges, which is almost exactly same as what the village currently pays for the old phone system. Long distance phone calls will essentially be free, as part of the packaged deal.

“What you’ve been missing for many years … is the inability to have features that are important, like voicemail for each (employee) … and after-hours messages,” Ditonto said.

In the future, the fire department and wastewater treatment plant, among other village departments, will be included in the system if they so choose. Ditonto also said the new system will help ease any transitions if the village considers shared services with the town of Pomfret.

The village board expects to vote on accepting DFT’s quote during the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees Room of the village hall.

Also during the meeting, the board approved James Hobbs as part-time seasonal Russell Joy Park attendant at $8.50 per hour, effective Sunday.

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