… County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a smaller contract with Low Associates, its IT vendor, for next year. The county will pay the South Bend firm about $320,000 annually over the next five years, down from about $831,000 annually that it paid Low two years ago, a 61-percent reduction. The county will need Low less because it has hired three former Low IT technicians as county employees, with Low’s consent. They will do the work of five Low employees who have worked in County-City Building offices in the past. The county had been paying Low more than $500,000 annually for the work of the five Low employees, but will spend about $194,000 combined on the three technicians’ salaries and benefits, said Ian Alford, county IT coordinator. The county also will buy a block of 1,000 hours of network security service from Low, to be used as needed. … In all, the changes will save the county about $317,000 per year, Alford said. The three employees are taking salary cuts, one of them about $15,000 annually, but they’re receiving better benefits, such as health insurance, additional days off and public employee retirement, Alford said.