STRONG — Selectmen reviewed details Tuesday night of the town’s lengthy, sometimes-bumpy transition from outdated Town Office software to web-based programs.

The TRIO software in use is based on Microsoft’s Access program, which will not be supported after 2019.

Harris Local Government, the Bangor-based creator of TRIO, has been steering its customers to its cloud-based Structured Query Language, or SQL format, and Town Clerk Betsy DuBois said the transition has been bumpy.

She and two treasurer and tax collector Sandra Mitchell use Harris’ municipal software modules for tax records and billing, vehicle registrations and other data-driven operations.

The change from Access to a different programming language has been done in steps, and unexpected data errors and required corrections have consumed valuable office time, according to DuBois and Mitchell.

“We’ve had nothing but problems working with Windows 10,” DuBois said. “But I guess that’s to be expected, because it needs to go to the new Microsoft platform, which is SQL”

The costs to continue with the gradual transition must be approved at the March 2020 town meeting.

DuBois provided selectmen with Harris’ answers to frequently asked questions and said Harris has agreed to reduce its fee from about $2,600 to $1,800. She said she is waiting for a start date for the final, four-week transition to the web-based system.

“It’s supposed to be done before the end of the year,” she said.

In other matters, Selectman Rodney Cook, who served on the town’s Energy Committee, which developed a comprehensive energy-savings plan to present to voters in 2011, said he recently calculated the town’s costs over the past six heating seasons.

Voters in 2011 allocated $25,000 toward the cost of a $50,000 pellet boiler to heat the Town Office, the library and the rest of the Forster Memorial Building. A Maine Forest Service grant provided the matching $25,000.

Voters also approved a 10% match in 2011 for the $36,200 required by Efficiency Maine for further savings on energy costs, including installing an on-demand hot water heater and insulating sections of the Forster Memorial Building and the fire station.

Cook shared his calculations on the savings from heating with pellets versus heating oil.

“We saved $14,127.64 over what we would have spent on oil,” he said. “I’ll bet that after we get the rest of the data from this year’s heating season, we’ll be closing in on $20,000 in savings.”

It was also announced Tuesday night that the Community Events Committee will host a townwide Christmas party from 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Forster Memorial Building.

Committee Chairwoman Heather Powell said it will include a tree lighting, caroling, cookie decorating and a visit from Santa Claus.


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