BAKERSFIELD - County officials said construction of a new Information Technology Services building is crucial to the safety of residents. That's because the county's current facility is outdated and in a flood plain.
What the county wants to do is build the center at a higher elevation in case of a flood, but right now they're over budget.
When you look at the ITS building, all you see are blinking lights and computer screens in an empty room. But, this is what officials say holds the county together.
"Information Technology Services is the centralized computer operation for the county. We support a number of major mission critical systems," said Bill Fawns, Director of Kern County's Information Technology Services.
This includes court databases, the tax system, and the county's e-mail and phone services.
"If something were to happen to make that equipment inoperable, the impact on county operations would be significant," said Jeff Frapwell, Assistant County Administrative Officer.
County officials want to relocate cyber central to a safer location, moving the services from downtown at 1215 Truxtun Avenue to a new building at the intersection of Panorama Drive and Mount Vernon Avenue.
"Ideally we'd like to see a new structure in a more survivable location," said Fawns.
The county moved into the basement in the 1970s. County officials said it was an ideal location at first, but proved in the last five years to be a concern. County officials say if the Lake Isabella dam were to break it would flood, and it's not up to current earthquake codes.
"We can do our job today and we do our job on a daily basis. It's just that we would feel more comfortable we could survive an emergency situation," said Fawns.
The problem is money. The project was originally supposed to cost $13 million. But, Tuesday during budget discussions, county supervisors found out bids for the project came in at $16 million.
"The question is: Can we close that gap and how do we do that?," said Frapwell.
"I opposed it once and I'm opposing it again because I think we can do better," said Supervisor Mick Gleason.
County supervisors asked staff to work on a streamlined, cheaper design to discuss at a future meeting.
"We need to go out with a whole new plan to do it right," said Gleason.
The county vowed not to fund construction of the building until supervisors know it is the most efficient option.