Palm Beach to Get New $10 Million Phone System to Help Residents Communicate With Government Officials

Getting a hold of a government representative can leave you feeling a little butthurt. Be it wanting to talk about a water bill, or getting a new license plate, or to tell someone raccoons are eating from trash cans and leaving a mess, it's been nearly impossible to get through to anyone over the phone, particularly in Palm Beach.

But now, thanks to a new $10 million plan to upgrade Palm Beach County's outdated phone system, you'll supposedly be able to get through faster.

The County Commission has agreed to move ahead with plans to eighty-six around 10,000 old crappy phones and replace them with an improved system in over more than 350 county facilities.

So now you'll be able to talk to your government rep's voicemail much, much easier!

The upgrade costs is crazy pricey but, officials say, it'll be more efficient, streamlined and, most of all, it won't be rotary phones or Morse code on the other end.

Expensive? You bet!

But, according to Mike Butler, networks director for the county's Information Systems Services Department, this thing will pay for itself in no time.

"It will pay for itself within four years," he says


The savings is estimated to be about $2.5 million, which is not too shabby, considering the cost of replacing and fixing the old system with old parts. 

The main problem has been wait-time, particularly with the Tax Collector's Office, where people being on hold and forced to listen to Muzac has averaged 15 minutes last year, which, as you know, is a friggin eternity when you're on hold for customer service.

And it hasn't helped that the state recently, for some reason, gave the job of issuing driver's licenses to county tax collectors.

So, despite the cost, the idea seems like a good one.

The new system should be phased in overt the next three years, and will include video calling, video conferencing, and linking county office phone lines to employee cell phones when they leave their desks. THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM OUR COMPLAINTS ABOUT OUR NEIGHBOR'S LAWN BEING TOO DAMN LONG.

Officials say this is a good thing, as customer griping about the old system has risen in recent months and range from long waits to being cut off by the system all together.

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