- City employees still working out bugs in upgraded software
By Myrna Trauntvein
Upgrading the software used for financial management and report and utility billing has not been an easy process for the employees of Nephi City.
"We are still working out the bugs," said Blair Painter, finance director/city recorder.
He said that the city is now using Caselle Clarity which has taken quite a bit of work to make it so that the city staff, himself included, can get the utility billing out on time.
Caselle, Inc., is the leading provider of local government and special districts integrated software and Nephi City recently began using the system for the city finance records.
Caselle enables document management capabilities to be offered to customers in addition to financial, utility, court, human resources, payroll and specialty services.
Caselle's customers can digitize paper, search for records within seconds and transfer files within the Clarity suite.
The city staff has been working on the change-over since April when mock data was submitted to begin the conversion process. In mid-May, said Painter, the staff received online training.
"They took our live data on June 14," said Painter.
On June 21, the company sent down two men to walk the city employees through the billing process.
"We are the only city they are working with which has three metered utility billings," said Painter. "That is a challenge."
Nephi has its own electricity, water and natural gas utilities and, as such, has three separate billings each month which must be billed to the city's customers.
One problem with that had been trying to get the system to let those who are on equal pay, a monthly billing system in which customers pay a fixed amount each month in order to cover the charges they have in equal amounts summer and winter.
Another problem had been that the computer wanted so send out 800 shut-off notices to customers.
"We normally send out approximately 200 monthly," said Painter. "The renter/landlord situation has been a nightmare."
Caselle employees did continue to provide support, he said.
The system, while proving to be expensive to adopt, was still within budget.
It was taking about $30,000 to make the needed adjustments. For example, the air conditioning for the room where the computer equipment was kept needed to be upgraded and that had cost $8,000 approximately.
New laser printers had been needed.
"We had accumulated, over the years in anticipation of the need to make a switch at some point, $40,000 so we are still under budget," he said. "The software is a big improvement over the program we have been using which has been in use since the early 1990s," said Painter.
"We felt like the instructions for Caselle were written in a foreign language," said Painter. "At first, we didn't understand their verbage."
The Caselle document management solution is supposed to assist cities in keeping up with the ever growing demand of paperwork and to simplify the workflow processes.
"There are a lot of things I like about Caselle," said Neal Menlove, who works in the office. "Some things in the old program I liked that are not in the new one."
When he needed to look up an account under the old system, for example, it had provided more information than was available under the new one.
It sounded similar to him, said Don Ball, resident, to the time when in the 1980s he was taking a class at Snow College and was introduced to a new program called "windows."
Mark Jones, mayor, said that Caselle would be a good system when all of the adaptation work was completed.
"Linda Wilson, city treasurer, and I gave ourselves three months to become comfortable with it," said Painter.
Caselle is known for software solutions based on solid accounting principles, steady growth, and exceptional customer retention. Caselle continues to flourish, grow, and serve over 1,200 municipalities, counties, and service districts in 30 states.