(TNS) — Norwich, Conn. — The city council on Monday approved a bond ordinance to spend up to $675,000 to integrate the school system’s computer systems and software with the city’s administrative computer systems, a plan designed as a cost-saving measure.
The money is expected to cover “planning, acquisition, training, data conversion, implementation of software and hardware upgrades, and other costs” of integrating electronic administrative functions of the school and city government into the Munis computer system.
The systems are now incompatible, forcing the school system to handle its own payroll, human resources, accounts payable, and other administrative functions, duplicating many of those administrative functions.
The project is expected to save about $634,079 over the next 20 years, above the cost of the bonds. The benefits in savings are expected to start in seven years, Alderman William Nash said.
City Comptroller Josh Pothier said the savings will be in the reductions in staff through attrition over time, with the combined reduction in staff between the city and school system of three full-time positions.
The bond initially was proposed in April but was delayed until Monday for a public hearing and vote.
Residents gave mixed opinions on the issue Monday, some speaking in favor to improve the city’s antiquated computer system, while others objected to bonding for a project that should have been handled in the city or school operating budget.
“This is the 21st century,” resident Linda Theodoru said, “and I’m glad we’re looking at a 21st century computer solution for saving money.”
Resident Brian Kobylarz expressed concern about cybersecurity involved in integrating all payroll, accounts and human resources functions into one system. Kobylarz said he didn’t see security listed among the items included in the bond description.
“Cybercrime is growing, and we need to look out for it,” Kobylarz said.
Pothier assured the council that security measures are included, and the system would have secured portals for staff and employees.
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