Commissioners choose jail security vendor

Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin
After the opening of Burnet County commissioners court Wednesday, Jan. 23, Burnet County Historical Commission chair JoAnn Myers introduced new commission members, including Burnet Bulletin staff writer Savanna Gregg.





By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

A Waco company will be making upgrades to the Burnet County Jail security system that will have the jail using manual controls for about a week during the installation.

After hearing a quick presentation from Sydaptic Inc., the Burnet County commissioners on Wednesday, Jan. 23, approved contracting with the company for $695,137 to install new hardware and software controls at the jail on Polk Avenue (Texas 29).

Sypdatic did not submit the lowest overall bid, but did submit what officials believed to be the best bid overall. Jail Capt. Matt Kimbler told commissioners a committee which studied bids submitted for the work recommended going with Sydaptic because of the amount of time the system would be down.

“The biggest thing for us is public safety,” Kimbler said. “When we are in manual mode with key controls, we have to provide extra staff to compensate and because they can do it faster, we could see an extra $30,000 difference in the amount of overtime we would have to pay.”

The other company chosen as a finalist, MTS, submitted a bid for $642,000, but would have taken much longer to install their system, which would have cost the county more in overtime and kept the jail on manual mode for a longer timeframe.

Patrick Scott, a representative of Sydaptic, said his company manufactures equipment and software that is backwards compatible with any existing jail security system, so the county would not have to expend any more money to replace locking mechanisms or doors. He said the system they design for Burnet County would be specific to the county's needs, based on local preferences rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Money for the upgrades is coming from the tax anticipation notes the county approved earlier this month. Burnet County Judge James Oakley noted the county was able to approve issuing $2.5 million in tax bonds without raising the existing tax rate.

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