County May Buy Computer System

County supervisors on Tuesday will consider a plan to borrow up to $11 million to bring six county law enforcement agencies into the modern computer age.

The money would be borrowed either from private lenders or county agencies, and would be used to buy a single computer system for the sheriff, district attorney, superior and municipal courts, public defender and Corrections Services Agency. Each of those agencies use different computer systems purchased in 1978.

The systems are outdated, and have no capacity to share information such as inmate records, said George E. Mathews, director of the county's Information Systems Department.

The estimated cost of the new system is $5 million to $11 million. The loans would be repaid through a combination of federal grants, local law enforcement tax proceeds and money saved through more efficient computer use, Mathews said.

Debt based on an $11-million loan is projected to increase the system's price tag by $3.64 million over a 10-year period.

The county's operating budget would have to absorb any debt that could not be repaid, Mathews said.

If the borrowing plan is approved, the computer system would be purchased and installed over the next three years, Mathews said.

Much of the old computer equipment would be rendered worthless and thrown away, although some could be traded in, he said.

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