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Oneonta, N.Y., Considers Software Consolidation, Upgrade

City Director of Finance Virginia Lee said that city staff has been reviewing various modules offered by Tyler Technologies, including financial and personnel management, utility billing and tax administration.

Software code overlayed over a closeup image of a computer keyboard.
(TNS) — The city of Oneonta is considering upgrading software throughout its departments by consolidating its systems into one program.

City Director of Finance Virginia Lee presented information on Tyler Technology to the Common Council on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Lee said that city staff has been reviewing the various modules offered by Tyler, including financial and personnel management, utility billing and tax administration.

The modules integrate with each other, allowing easier and more efficient communication between departments.

"Upgrading to this provider will get us under one umbrella," Lee said, "so every department can talk very easily to every other department, which we've never had."

Representatives from Tyler gave demonstrations on-site two days last week to all department heads, with some staff also attending.

"It's like a Ferris wheel," Lee said. "You can click on anything, any one of the little Ferris wheel seats, and go in and see financial reports, go in and see city meetings, go in and see city announcements, go in and see calendars. The communication is phenomenal."

A meeting manager module schedules meetings, creates minutes and integrates with the city website, she said. Finance insights, for the public and elected officials, shows history and expenses.

City Administrator Greg Mattice said the system would generate financial reports without a lot of the manual labor involved now, allowing the city to be more transparent and more easily provide information to council members, the mayor or the public.

Tyler also offers access for the public to monitor and pay bills, including utility, code enforcement and property tax bills.

The Department of Public Works would be able to have an electronic work order system and move away from paper. The system also would be able to automatically update inventory.

A public safety law enforcement package is available through Tyler, which Lee said the city is looking at but not prepared to discuss with the council yet.

"There are still some remaining details and questions that some people have," Lee said, "which Tyler is working on to get back to us. We're going to address those questions and concerns directly with different Zoom presentations to make sure that every department and every staff member is comfortable with the option that's available."

Another reason for considering the switch to Tyler is the city's dissatisfaction with its current payroll system, which the city implemented last year.

"Unfortunately, that product has not performed, nor has it provided the required results," Lee said. "In actuality, it has hundreds of manual hours for the finance department ... We need the software to work for us, not for us to work on the software."

The opportunities provided by Tyler come with additional costs.

The one-time cost for the Tyler conversion and implementation of all modules would be about $214,000. The annual cost, guaranteed for three years, would be about $159,000 per year.

Currently, with all the different various software packages that we have that would be replaced by Tyler, the city's annual cost is about $83,000, which is subject to change.

The difference of $76,000 in annual costs would be distributed between all funds.

According to information from Tyler, the company provides its software to 211 government agencies in New York state, including departments within the Otsego County government.

County officials were not immediately available for comment. Lee said that Otsego County just finished its three-year conversion process to MUNIS at the end of last year, and county officials have reported positively to her about Tyler.

Oneonta, being smaller than the county, would have a shorter timeline to ERP Pro.

Tyler estimates it would take six to nine months to convert to its finance and payroll modules. The city clerk, utility and code enforcement could be set up as stand-alone modules and then connect to the larger system. In total, it would be 15 to 18 months.

Lee said that city employee training videos are part of the system.

Several council members asked follow up questions, but none outright objected to exploring the Tyler software further.

© 2023 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.