Village Hall Phone System Failures Prompt Replacement

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Two recent outages of the Mineola Village Hall telephone system prompted the Mineola Board of Trustees to approve installation at last Wednesday night’s board meeting of a new digital Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system this summer.

“Recently it’s taken on more of an urgency,” Mineola Village Clerk Joseph Scalero told the village board at the meeting, saying the system has long needed an upgrade.

He said the current Village Hall phone system is an “amalgam” of different systems—primarily copper line systems—that are “not necessarily compatible” with each other.

In early April, Scalero said equipment failure caused a day-long outage of the inbound and outbound Mineola Village Hall phone system. Earthlink, the village’s current vendor, was able to provide a temporary system replacement to make the system immediately functional again, he said.

But three weeks ago, Scalero said a Verizon system failure that affected customers in eight states took out the village hall system for 36 hours.

“We live by the phone nowadays,” Scalero said, emphasizing how the outages disrupted village business.

After reviewing seven VOIP fiber optic systems, Scalero recommended Evolve IP as the vendor the village board should contract for the new system. He said all seven systems were competitively-priced and he based his recommendation on the Evolve system as the “most user-friendly” system with the most features. He also noted that Evolve IP has a 100 percent four-year reliability rating.

Scalero said the start-up cost of the new system would be $5,000 and would result in an annual savings of $24,000 over the current system, which costs $5,000 monthly.

“It’s a good thing the system failed,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss quipped.

The village board voted unanimously to install the new phone system. Scalero said installation of the system would take approximately eight to 10 weeks.

In a separate development, the village board unanimously authorized an expenditure of $147,000 for survey, design and construction inspection services from D&B Engineering for village road improvements to begin in June.

Thomas Rini, village superintendent of public works, requested the authorization as part of the $1.2 million the village board has committed this year for road reconstruction. He said work would start June 1 and include restoring driveway aprons as the roadbed makeover proceeded.

Strauss noted that the village board’s spending on road improvements had doubled since he took office as mayor six years ago.

The village board also heard an application from Victor Hatami, owner of Great Neck Games, who said he wanted permission to host parties on the night before legal holidays.

“Sometimes on holidays, I’d like to let people use my premises,” he said.

He also requested a half-hour extension of the current hours of 7 to 11 p.m. currently in place for parties to allow time for customers to vacate the venue after the events. Hatami said he plans to make improvements to his property, including putting down brick pavers and a canopy in front of his building and installing an elevator.

In response to questions from trustee Dennis Walsh, Hatami said he only intended to book parties on days before legal holidays, not religious holidays.

He said the capacity of his site is 80 people and most of his party business—approximately 80 percent—comprises bar mitzvah parties.

“The only thing we’re adding is the occasional party on the holiday eve. The other conditions remain the same,” said Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, summarizing what the board was considering at the end of the public hearing on Hatami’s request.

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