By Ralph Ellis

The Sandy Springs City Council has decided to spend $1.5 million to purchase information technology equipment.

When the city was formed five years ago, it signed a lump-sum contract with a private company, CH2M Hill, to provide most services – as well as the IT equipment.

But now the city government is maturing and trying to cut down on expenses. That means relying less on CH2M Hill.

“This is a vote to buy it all outright and not lease any of it,” Mayor Eva Galambos said at the May 3 meeting. The vote was unanimous to buy the equipment.

The city is paying for the project by transferring unused money from the capital improvement projects fund. About $750,000 was saved in sidewalk projects and $786,012 in road paving.

According to city documents, $800,931 will go to Interworks Inc., $114,259 to Dell, $436,633 to Cisco and $184,188 to CH2M Hill. The total bill for the IT equipment purchase will be $1,536,011.84.

The city originally planned to finance the purchase over five years with a zero percent loan. But the city learned only the Cisco equipment could be purchased under those terms. The rest would have a 2.9 percent interest rate, according to a memo to council from Amy Davis, the city finance director.

The requirements to obtain the zero percent loan were cumbersome, Davis wrote to the council, so she recommended the city purchase the equipment directly.