The Brighton City Council Thursday night unanimously approved a new joint Information Technology Data Center with the city of Howell at a cost of $54,000.

The city’s utilities fund will pay 40% of the cost and the rest will come from the general fund. Howell will pay a higher amount – $63,000 - because of its larger population, while the Howell Area Recreation Authority – which also utilizes the IT Data Center - will chip in $8,900 towards the total cost of $126,000. In 2012 Howell expanded its IT partnership with the city of Brighton by implementing a network server data center solution for both communities, as well as the Howell Recreation Authority.

Howell City Manager Shea Charles, who gave the presentation Thursday night, told Brighton Council members the current data center is at its end of life and is in need of replacement. That has resulted in part from implementation of new Geographic Information Systems by both Howell and Brighton as part of the SAW grant program. Brighton Mayor Jim Muzzin tells WHMI that Brighton has benefitted in cost savings from the joint data center, since previously the city had to hire a private company to provide the service.

The SAW – or Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant program - allows municipalities the chance to develop asset management plans for their stormwater and wastewater systems. However, grant dollars don’t cover the IT hardware needed to operate the software. In addition, technology is placing increasing demands on existing hardware and software systems so that municipalities such as Howell and Brighton need to upgrade them sooner than in the past. (TT)