Luzerne County government spent more than $231,600 last year refilling toner and maintaining and repairing copiers and printers used by employees.
The county council approved a new approach last week that will cut that expense by $60,000 annually over the next four years.
Topp Copy Business Solutions will charge the county $171,400 a year to ensure all machines are fully operational and stocked with toner, ending the county’s reliance on multiple companies that charged varying dollar amounts for servicing and supplies, officials said.
The price of the contract, which runs through 2019, also includes some new machines to replace outdated ones, county officials said.
Most of the county’s copiers and printers are more than five years old, officials said.
The number of machines will be reduced from 738 to 563, officials said.
Machines will be centralized in offices, eliminating excessive printers, including some kept on desks, county Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik told the council.
The contract calls for 175 new multi-function copier/printer/fax devices, officials said. The county would have to negotiate a price to keep replacement machines if it does not renew Topp Copy’s contract in 2020, officials said.
The contract covers 7.5 million copies per year.
The county must pay extra if it exceeds that allotment, but Topp Copy representatives said they came up with that benchmark based on thorough analysis of county copier and printer usage.
The varying maintenance and supply arrangements made it difficult to monitor and control costs, Parsnik said.
“With the new contract, the only things we’ll have to pay for now are paper and staples,” Parsnik said.
Copiers and printers in a few departments won’t be covered by the new agreement until 2018 because they are locked into service and maintenance agreements that have not expired, officials said.
Six companies submitted proposals to handle the contract, and county Purchasing Director Mark Zulkoski said Topp Copy’s proposal provided the most savings and benefits.
Some of the council members proposed tabling the vote last week after questions were raised by one of the unsuccessful proposal responders. The tabling failed, and a majority approved the contract with Topp Copy.
Councilman Stephen J. Urban supported the change, saying the contract is all-inclusive. He said his private employer saved money using a similar approach.
Councilman Harry Haas said the county’s home rule government allowed and encouraged such consolidation.
“I think it’s a good deal,” Haas said.