What Selectmen originally thought would be a speedy effort to improve the town's Information Technology Department will in fact need to span out in stages over a few years.
A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) request this year by IT Director Eric DeLong for $75,000 toward workstations has seen a sudden change.
The new gameplan, as created by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), shows this year's CIP request being used to level up the network and create a backbone to prepare for workstations.
Many board members didn't expect the shift in plans.
Selectman Phil LoChiatto said that he gets a little worried when a plan comes to the Board of Selectmen and it's not really what was presented to the CIP Committee.
Chairman Bruce Breton, who is the Selectmen representative to the CIP Committee, agreed with LoChiatto.
DeLong said that the second year of the new approach would see a rough estimate cost of $60,000, followed by $10,000 per year as a rolling maintenance level of support.
Selectman Roger Hohenberger told the TAC members in attendance that he didn't think the new procedure was thought through.
Committee member Greg Cappiello disagreed, saying that he and his constituents have discussed the first phase at length, and all agree it needs to take place before anything else.
He stressed that a solution for next year is still being debated, and could come in the form of workstations or through a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI.
DeLong said that the initial cost of the VDI plan would be the same as workstations, but the VDI setup is expected to last much longer and would create long-term savings.
He stressed to the board that the town needs a powerful, redundant, reliable and stable network environment. He called the current infrastructured both aged and neglected.
"We know the backbone now is the most critical thing to improve," he said.
Scott Baetz, who helped to complete a recent network assessment for the town, told the board that the updated plan aligns well with the direction he developed for the town.
"I think this is the right path to take," he told the board, explaining that to a certain extent, it should come as no surprise that constant work will need to take place involving IT items.
Vice Chairman Ross McLeod was less skeptical about the sudden change from the CIP request, referring to the $75,000 as a "fundamental investment" in Windham's infrastructure.
"Whether we like it or not, the nature of information technology has advanced dramatically in the last 10 years," he said. "It just boggles my mind the fact that this town is going to nickel and dime their way through a band-aid solution."
LoChiatto countered that he wasn't suggesting a nickel-and-dime approach, but rather just asking for where the IT costs are going to end.
Baetz assured that the cost will be different for the town depending on what path is chosen, and a quote today will be very different from next year.
The original CIP request was not based on a duel redundant server system, which would effectively back up the town's data.