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Duluth approves $2M software

DULUTH - The Duluth City Council on Monday unanimously agreed to purchase $2 million in new computer software that will enable the city to become a "world-class government."

The $2 million will be payable over a five-year-period to Troy, Mich.-based New World Systems, which was awarded the contract for the software, resulting in a cost to the city of about $400,000 a year. The price also includes some new hardware.

"This is a significant amount of taxpayer money, but if we want to achieve a world-class government, this is an investment we need to make," Councilman Doug Mundrick said.

The new software, he said, will allow residents to conduct business with the city more quickly online. Implementation is expected to be completed in about a year.

City staff studied the matter for most of a year, and 22 firms were reviewed before New World Systems was selected.

The council also unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing a submission for low-interest construction loans on the behalf of Dos Compadres LLC for a Pure Taqueria on the Town Green. Duluth's Downtown Development Authority would serve as a conduit for the loan funds. Chris McGahee, the city's economic development manager, said the DDA and the city would not be financially liable for loan repayment.

The DDA was authorized to purchase property appraised at $465,000 from McDaniel Enterprises and vacate the right-of-way of two roadways dividing property owned by the company.

The property is located on Main Street and occupied by Corley Insurance and Accessorize Again. To be vacated are a portion of Old Peachtree Road and a portion of Jones Street, also known as Railroad Street.

Change orders for engineering services relating to construction of the proposed Hospital Connector were approved. The additional $89,810 and $29,565 charged by two engineering firms were deemed necessary to separate the Hospital Connector from the Ridgeway Road extension since the two projects might not be built at the same time.

The Bennewitz family presented a portrait of Robert E. Bennewitz, who served as mayor of Duluth from 1964-67, to be displayed in City Hall. The city is interested in receiving photographs of other mayors and city officials.