(TNS) — EFFINGHAM — The Effingham City Council approved two proposals for new software Tuesday evening totaling more than $200,000.
The first proposal, which comes at a one-time cost of just over $188,000, is for a citywide software system that includes five programs or modules ranging from payroll and general ledger to tracking inventory and purchasing, as well as utility billing.
“We’ve actually been working on this overall software package for the past eight months…,” said Effingham City Clerk Kelsey Lock. “We’ve been looking for a citywide software for a long time.”
The software agreement with Tyler Technologies is for seven years and requires the city pay an annual fee of $69,070. When added to the one-time fee, the city will pay a total of $672,424 over the course of the seven-year contract.
The city’s current software was purchased in 2010 but Lock said the new software will go above and beyond what Effingham currently has. The software will also allow citizens the ability to track the city’s finances online, as well as receive notifications.
“If a customer has a water leak, the system will automatically detect that and let them know,” explained Effingham Treasurer Caitlin Phillips. “Right now we do that manually.”
Lock added that the software is cloud-based and will be upgraded routinely as part of the agreement. It will also enjoy better virus protection and the city won’t have to maintain its current on-site server backup. The new system would also help satisfy a finding in a recent financial audit regarding the tracking of capital assets.
“This software will help us track our capital assets, as well as our capital projects,” said Phillips. “So it will help provide more documentation and better tracking, as well as any report they need.”
The second piece of software approved Tuesday was a new timekeeping system that will allow all city employees to clock in and out remotely and from any electronic device capable of connecting to the Internet.
At a one-time cost of $30,738.45, the timekeeping software from Data Management Services Inc. also has an annual fee of $7,859.40. The life of the contract is for two years and Phillips says it will help better track overtime and cut down on human error.
“I’m entering 150 employees…which takes time,” said Phillips. “So it puts the accountability and responsibility back on the employee.”
As Phillips further explained, the software will also allow the city to input various work codes that employees can tag when clocking in. This will help the city and financial auditors track what work was done in addition to how much — something lacking and noted in the recent audit.
“The auditors want to know how many hours are being spent on (tax increment financing)-related items,” said Phillips. “So Jim, for example, he’s working on TIF for five hours today, he can put a TIF job code. So then he can run a report and see how many hours are actually being spent on TIF-related items.”
Lock says she hopes the more extensive software and its five modules will be in place within a year while the timekeeping software is expected to be implemented within the next few months.
“We talked with the department heads about doing kind of a beta-testing with certain individuals and going through some of the scenarios that come up to make sure it’s all set," said Lock of the timekeeping software. "Then we’ll plan on moving forward.”
The more extensive software will be paid for by evenly distributing the cost across the general, water, sewer, tourism and TIF funds. The timekeeping software, meanwhile, will be paid for by each department’s fund, based on the number of employees in each department.
Both proposals passed unanimously 3-0 with commissioners Merv Gillenwater and Don Althoff both absent.
©2018 the Effingham Daily News (Effingham, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.