BAINBRIDGE — Township Trustees met last week with Geauga County officials about updates to information technology services.

Among those at the Nov. 26 meeting were Geauga Auditor Chuck Walder, Chief Compliance Officer Kate Jacob, and Automatic Data Processing Co-Directors Al Vontorcik and Allen Keener.

“We host Bainbridge’s website, house their email and provide them with their telecommunication needs,” Mr. Walder explained. “We supply computer resources, do regular scheduled backups of their systems and provide them with technical support.”

The county has been providing the services to Bainbridge for nine years and recently gave the township a standardized price list for services. The county IT department serves Bainbridge and Chester townships as well as the Geauga Park District, the Geauga County Health District, and the municipal and common pleas courts.

“We provide IT services,” Mr. Walder said, as mandated by state law.

“In the past, there were no formal agreements or standard price lists. The Ohio Revised Code is clear on the legal requirements to offer these services,” Mr. Walder said.

“Other public entities can go elsewhere, so we have to be competitive with other service providers,” he said. “There are several benefits with going with the county’s services. It gives four-digit dialing to county offices. Users don’t have to dial the full extension as the call is internal through the county’s VoIP phone system without long distance charges. Whether calling the sheriff, county commissioners, building department, auditor, treasurer or prosecutor, calls are just 4 digits away,” Mr. Walder said.

“We house and archive all data,” he noted. “We can restore information if there was a disaster, upset, or hardware failure. It’s standard disaster recovery methodology,” he said.

“The county’s buying power can also be leveraged with volume purchasing of hardware even if someone is buying small,” Mr. Walder said. “We provide many unique services compared to private firms, yet we stay competitive.”

The county Automatic Data Processing or ADP center can provide its services to townships, municipal corporations, water and sewer districts, schools, libraries, county law libraries, the health and park districts, the soil and water conservation districts and any other taxing district.

Currently the ADP center is serving the Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste District, Mr. Walder said.

In Bainbridge, a joint agreement for data processing services will be put in place. “We didn’t have that in the past and it is a requirement.” Mr. Walder’s goal is to roll out the new process at Bainbridge by the end of December. The same is being done at the Chardon Municipal Court, Chester Township and the Geauga Park District.

“I credit the ADP Board for recognizing the past deficiencies in providing these services, empowering ADP’s co-directors and the auditor’s chief compliance officer with developing these new policies and procedures, and our clients for supporting our implementation pursuant to Ohio law,” Mr. Walder said.

He noted the late Stephen Decatur was the past director of ADP. “He should have followed the law but didn’t,” Walder said. Mr. Decatur was charged with embezzling approximately $1.8 million from Geauga County. He died in October before the case came to trial. Former Geauga County Auditor Frank Gliha, who resigned his post, pleaded guilty in June to failing to properly oversee his public office.

Today, Mr. Vontorcik and Mr. Keener are managing county services.

Bainbridge Trustee Jeff Markley said the township can choose to continue with the county or go with a private provider. No decisions have been made and trustees will be discussing the matter at their Dec. 10 meeting.

Mr. Walder explained that the consultant’s services will be $92 per hour when visiting the township, Mr. Markley said. The county will bill the township.

The county will bill for all the software, phone service and technical support and the township will pay for the hardware and equipment through the vendors, as recommended by the county.

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