LISBON — There is an end in sight for the town’s computer software woes.
The town is in the second year of a seven-year, $638,000 contract with Munis for software to run its operations, ranging from financial record keeping and business licensing to utility and tax billing. It s still not online.i
Implementing the new system was held up by an unforeseen amount of staff time needed to install the new package. Town councilors have discussed the issue over the past year, explaining that the project was presented as something that could be done in-house by a previous finance director.
The system is still not online, and Lisbon has continued operating with the old TRIO system.
In June, the council agreed to have a $4,400 assessment done by consulting firm BerryDunn to gauge how close the system was to becoming operational. Finance Director Lydia Colston has been working on the project, but noted without the professional assessment it was difficult to know how close she was to completing the installation.
“It gives us an idea of if we’re on track and I know where I should be,” Colston said. “I had no timeline before that.”
With the assessment complete, Colston learned the system is on track to have financial services operational by Oct. 1. Payroll and licensing services will be ready to go by the new year. The financial piece, utility and tax billing should be ready by July 2019. The firm offered further assistance for the installation, but that proved to be too costly with the cheapest option $186,000.
Colston has been working to install the new MUNIS package while carrying out her daily duties as finance director.
Town councilors discussed what opting out of the contract would require, but Colston said the town would still be responsible for 30 percent of the remaining contract, or about $113,000. It would also leave them in the same position, with the same software issues.
Problems with the previous provider TRIO included a lack of troubleshooting response when the town ran into problems, according to town officials.
“I think there’s multiple factors that went into it,” Town Manager Diane Barnes said. “They took a lot of municipalities on in a short period of time.”
Colston estimated it had been at least 2010 since Lisbon has had a new system.