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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


New financial system to benefit Berlin, customers

(June 4, 2015) After months of research and discussion, the Town of Berlin adopted a new financial system last Tuesday, voting to hire Tyler Technologies and spend $162,795 for hardware, software and professional services.
The license agreement requires an annual maintenance fee of $21,768, which includes the cost of technical support and regular software updates.
The town hired consultant service Government Finance Officers Association last July to help select a new system, spending $16,800 split between the electric, water and sewer departments, and the general fund.
“GFOA has a lot of experience selecting software systems for other cities,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said at the time. “The town does not have that expertise. Hiring GFOA will ensure we have a process that gets us the best vendor at the best price.”
Allen, speaking last week, said the old system was severely outdated.
“We can’t access historical data through the current system,” she said. “For utility billing, this means we scan hard copies of customers’ bills for future reference in case there’s a question about their account.”
The system’s limitations also affected the budgeting process, as fulfilling council requests for specific information became cumbersome.
“We use Excel and a lot of manual entry to put the budget together,” Allen said. “The reporting features are lacking as well. We [have to] download data into excel to put the monthly expense and revenue reports together.”
Allen said the new system also benefits customers, allowing them to access their account information online for the first time.
Tyler Technologies proposed a March 2016 implementation for basic financials, with the system coming online for utility billing the following month.
“That amount of time is needed for them to do the data conversation that we’re requiring, as well as training staff up,” Allen said. “It’s our hope to get that schedule reduced, but that’s sort of the time frame.”
District 4 Councilmember Dean Burrell was part of a subcommittee that helped select the service.
“We can do business better than what we’re currently doing,” he said during the meeting. “Having better information will provide us what we need to make better decisions and I think this is the way to go. It will relieve our staff of doing some of that grunt work and have them aspiring to a higher level of management and customer service.”