From the County that brought you the $900,000-over-budget sewer pipe in Glen Echo Heights, comes their next attempt to emulate the Pentagon's infamous $640 toilet seat. Yesterday, the County Council approved a barrage of budget line-items for County services and non-profits alike for FY-2018. Some were well-justified, and others a complete waste. Among the wasteful items was $22,000 for the purchase of a 4-camera security camera system for the County's new Supervised Visitation Center.
$22,000 for 4 security cameras in the year 2017? That price would certainly have gotten my attention if I were on the Council. If you consider that any County building would already have WiFi, you're talking about the four cameras, and video storage. According to Popular Mechanics, security cameras range in price from $100 to $950. Fixr.com, a website that estimates project costs, states that Network-Attached-Storage devices range from $168 for 1 TB of storage, to $499 for 4 TB. Installation labor costs are estimated by Fixr.com to be $680 for four cameras. In other words, this whole system could be purchased and installed for under $1000, but the Council is picking your pocket for $22,000.
Interestingly, the $22,000 camera figure was not broken out in the Council staff report, but lumped with other costs in a $34,500 line item. The camera cost was mentioned by a staff member testifying before the Council yesterday. Not a single councilmember questioned the cost, and the item passed unanimously.