Village of Great Neck takes first steps in record digitization process

Village of Great Neck takes first steps in record digitization process
The Village of Great Neck village hall caught on fire from a lightning strike on Aug. 9, officials announced. (Photo courtesy of Fred Bassali)

The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees unanimously voted to digitize and store physical documents to an online server during Tuesday night’s public meeting.

Less than a month after a fire broke out at Village Hall, the board selected a digitization and cloud storage proposal from Seery Systems Group, a records storage organization based out of Garden City Park.

The two-year proposal, according to documents, permits five village users to have access to, the software that converts and stores print documents online.

The cost of the proposal is $11,347.20, with options for Seery representatives to come in and provide professional services over a four-day period for an additional $5,800.

Due to the smoke damages the documents endured from the August fire, Clerk-Treasurer Abraham Cohan said, the village’s insurance company, Glatfelter Insurance Group, “should pay for a majority of the expense.”

Cohan also mentioned a contingency line in the village’s budget for $150,000, which could help fund any other expenses.

Mayor Pedram Bral inquired about the best course of action the village should take with respect to the hard copies of the documents and records.

Richard Seery, CEO of the organization, said his company could store the records but has seen villages ask for them back once the digitization is complete.

“I always recommend that you speak to your attorney to find out what you should do with records because each type of record has a lot behind it,” Seery said. “Most building departments don’t want to get rid of their records.”

Cohan said he spoke to the clerk from the Village of Flower Hill, whose files were recently digitized by Seery, and was informed that the village was unsure what to do with the hard copies.

Village Attorney Peter Bee said “it is always nice to have multiple backups of records,” but noted that the village shouldn’t need most of the originals once the digitization is complete.

Bral also spoke about how the village has operated and plans to move forward following the fire caused by a lightning strike last month. He said the village received a temporary working pod from Nassau County, measured at 24×60 feet.

Another pod, he said, should be received on Wednesday from the county as well, with hopes of having the sewer, water and electrical hookups in place by the end of the week, if not sooner.

High-speed internet, Bral said, will be difficult to establish in the pods due to their location, the parking lot adjacent to the Department of Public Works facility.

Bral touted the hard work of village officials to keep the village running without a collective place to work from over the past few weeks.

“You all really deserve a round of applause because it is difficult, but still the village and its work is being done and things are being carried through,” Bral said. “I wanted to thank all of you again for what you’ve been doing.”

Bral said an entire section of the west wing of the building is destroyed as a result of the Aug. 9 fire, along with parts of the east wing as well, with flooding in the basement.

John Purcell, chief of the Great Neck Alert Fire Company, said more than 100 volunteer firefighters from Alert, the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Department, the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire department, the Port Washington Fire Department, the Plandome Fire Department, the Williston Fire Department, the Albertson Fire Department and the Nassau County Fire Marshal.

Bral said most of the village files were stored in a different location from where the fire occurred and believes they can be salvaged. The hardware, he said, experienced the most significant damage.

More information on village updates can be found on the Village of Great Neck’s website.

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