The phone system used in city offices is obsolete and no longer supported by AT&T.

The City of Augusta found itself between a rock and a hard place with its phone system the past several months.

The system used in city offices was obsolete and no longer supported by AT&T. There was no desire to spend a lot of money on a brand new system, but when AT&T began raising monthly fees for supporting an obsolete system, the choice came down to investing in a new system or investing more money in the old system.

The governing body budgeted more than $60,000 to replace the system and wiring. But thanks to some work by Rob Vinson of Applied Solution Group, the city will spend less than 15 percent of what had been budgeted.

The only up front cost that will be incurred is about $7,000 for rewiring. The rest is built into monthly costs, which will still be about $200 per month less than what the city was paying AT&T.

Going with Cox Communications will cost the city a total of about $177,300 over the five year contract. The same term with Windstream and Avaya would cost more than $100,000 more over that same period.

Interim City Manager Josh Shaw said the savings leaves some funds in this year’s budget that the council may appropriate to other projects that had been delayed due to a lack of funding.

“You have the authority to spend the rest of the money,” Shaw said. “There are several projects you could choose to complete.”

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the Cox proposal and sign a five-year deal.