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Mason City to spend upwards of $1 million to “refresh” city hall IT system

MASON CITY - Mason City officials are considering spending up to $1 million or more to refresh the IT system in city hall, an examination of documents shows.

MASON CITY – Mason City officials are considering spending up to $1 million or more to refresh the IT system in city hall, an examination of documents shows.

RSM will be presenting at the next city council meeting on May 21, 2024, on a proposed phased IT network refresh.

“While we have good systems, it is time to refresh and upgrade our network infrastructure to increase speed, resiliency, and reliability,” Finance Director Brent Hinson told City Administrator Aaron Burnett in a recent city memo. RSM will present on the proposed network refresh and the city council was briefed in an executive summary for an overview of the planned activities.

According to an executive summary of th project:

The City of Mason City is embarking on a comprehensive multi-year plan to upgrade and refresh its network infrastructure, aiming to enhance the security, speed, and reliability of network connectivity across all departments. This plan will reinforce the city’s digital foundation and ensure seamless connectivity for essential city services.

For nearly three decades, City of Mason City has relied on a robust transport network that serves as the backbone for all its departments, enabling daily business activities and providing essential services, including critical support for emergency responders. This network has been the cornerstone of our city’s digital infrastructure, underpinning a vast range of operations from administrative functions to public safety communications.

As technology evolves, so must the network. This upgrade plan will elevate current infrastructure to the next generation of capabilities and services. By centralizing computing resources, it will lay a solid foundation for reducing technological complexities and operational costs while improving service delivery across all city departments. The proposed modernization will ensure that City of Mason City remains resilient, adaptive, and well-positioned to meet the demands of the future.

Phase 1: Network Foundation Enhancements • Deploy a second-generation fiber ring interconnecting City Hall, Police Department, Museum, Fire Department, and Courthouse. • Outcomes include a 20x speed improvement, simplified technology footprint, and enhanced fault tolerance.

Phase 2: Critical Control Environments • Refresh network connectivity and security controls for Water Treatment and Water Reclamation departments. • Outcomes include enhanced security controls, increased speed and fault tolerance, and improved visibility of resource consumption.

Phase 3: Inter-Department Connectivity Upgrades • Refresh the wireless network providing connectivity to various departments outside the core fiber ring. • Outcomes include increased speed, redundancy, and security from departmental entry points to the main fiber ring.

Phase 4: Intra-Department Connectivity Upgrades • Refresh network connectivity within each department across all city-owned locations. • Outcomes include increased speed and connectivity for intra-department technology interactions.

Phase 5: Hybrid Cloud and Datacenter Security Refresh Cycle • Consolidate compute resources to centralized on-premises locations while increasing cloud services. • Outcomes include reduced compute resources, complexity, and ongoing technology costs.

Phase 6: Maximize and Optimize Capabilities • Maximize benefits of new capabilities, stabilize operations, and streamline management to reduce technological complexities and operational costs. • Foster efficiencies through continuous enhancement of capabilities and maintain strong governance to ensure compliance and security.

City documents claim this “multi-year network upgrade and refresh plan will provide City of Mason City with a resilient and secure network infrastructure, reinforcing critical city services while optimizing technology costs. The phased approach ensures each objective is met effectively, leading to a consolidated, high-performing network foundation for years to come.”

Budget Estimates

• Phase 1: $91,000
• Phase 2: $94,000
• Phase 3: $170,000
• Phase 4: $205,000
• Phase 5: $300,000
• Phase 6: $135,000

Year 1 of the network refresh is proposed to be paid by accumulated bank interest in General Capital Projects Fund 015. Future years will be budgeted in the FY26-FY30 CIP process.

No action is required by the city council at this time, documents claim.

“Given the significance of the initiative, we are providing information and an opportunity for questions prior to moving forward.”

The project just may be a good idea, as local government has been hacked in the past. Back in 2016, the Cerro Gordo County website was hacked, as NIT reported. The bad guys were then selling “Cheap jerseys from china” and similar selling points on the site until the issue was resolved.

(TOP PHOTO of Mason City city hall workspace.)

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the “out of town” administrator is finding all sorts of ways to spend our money, just watch when there isnt any left, he will leave town. seems like the “dont do a things” are his best friends. like Kyle, doesnt do a thing and is his buddy

A MILLION DOLLARS?! Don’t these people know how to shop around?!

Lots of better ways to spend our money.

On bridges to nowhere ????

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