MACEDONIA -- The capabilities of the city's new phone system are headed upward while the cost is going down, city officials say.

About 100 new phones are currently being installed in the city's facilities including City Hall, the police, fire and service departments, and the recreation center at a cost of about $40,000, according to A.J. Allen, the city's IT director. He said Jan. 24 the system should be ready to go in several weeks.

"The new phone system is pretty impressive," said Allen, who said the previous phones are at least 20 years old.

Allen said the new system will save the city about $1,500 a month, or about $18,000 a year.

Mayor Joe Migliorini said nothing will be different when people call in, and the phone numbers will remain the same.

The old phone system was "pretty antiquated," he said.

"Our new phones will be so much more sophisticated," he said. "Communication is the biggest thing a government has. It is important that we have up-to-date software in the phones."

Allen said the new phones have many features including the ability to page and handle conference calls.

"We can take calls on our cellphones and transfer them back to the new phone system," he said. "We can call groups of phones if there is some type of emergency. We can ring multiple phones at the same time.

"For instant messaging, say someone comes to the front desk and needs to talk to me," he said. "The person at the front desk can use the phone system to see if I'm at my desk or out of the office, then message me, and I can reply."

Migliorini said the system can tabulate residential phone calls according to their addresses. He said an example would be if a resident called and said he had a stormwater problem.

"We could determine when they called last and see if there's been a problem at that location previously," he said.

"We'll have many other capabilities of transferring calls including having multiple calls on one line at the same time," he added. "It's better technology."

The new system is from TTX Teletronics, headquartered in Strongsville.

Allen said when he was hired by the city last year, he started looking at ways the city could save money.

"This is one item the mayor thought we could save money on, and I agreed," he said. "I got quotes on different systems and decided on this."

Migliorini added, "The only thing different is, we'll be paying a cheaper phone bill every month."

Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432