Bertie to replace ‘water’ software

Published 9:51 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

WINDSOR – Antiquated.

That one word describes the computer software equipment being used by the Bertie County Water Department – for now.

Monday morning the Bertie County Commissioners, sitting as the Board of Directors for the four water districts in the county, approved the purchase of new software that had been in the budget two years ago.

After they convened as the water district board, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb said they were facing a situation that needed to be addressed.

“In our last audit, one of the concerns – actually one of the findings – was the monthly reconciliation in the water department,” Lamb said.

The county manager said Finance Officer Lydia Hoggard and water department Office Manager Connie Coburn had been working diligently to try to make the monthly reconciliation happen, but the software simply wouldn’t allow it, meaning they had been doing it by hand.

William Robert Roberson, head of the DATA Center who is responsible for IT in Bertie County, said the old system was a DOS-based system that was more than 20 years old.

Roberson also said the new system would allow the water department and finance office to work together “almost” paperless.

“Between the four water systems, it will cost approximately $10-11,000 each,” Lamb told the board. “That will be broken down by a per-active tap basis.”

On Wednesday morning, Lamb reported the total cost had been worked out so that it would be even less. The total cost for the system will now be $36,100. The breakdown for each district will be: District 1: $8,303, District II: $6,850, District III: $11,552 and District IV: $9,386.

Commissioner Rick Harrell said he certainly saw the importance of buying the new software, but also asked if it would allow drafting of bank accounts to pay water bills.

“I have had several constituents ask about that and one asked this week,” Harrell said. “Is that something that can be done with this software?”

Roberson said it was not included in the package price, but it there would be a module available to add that would allow drafting.

“If we’re going to do this, I think it’s important that we do what we need to and help our citizens,” Harrell said.

Lamb said his recommendation would be to approve the purchase of the software with the addition of the module that would allow bank drafting for payment of bills.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry made a motion to that effect with Commissioner Charles L. Smith offering a second. The motion passed by a unanimous vote.

On Wednesday morning, Lamb said the actual cost for the module had not been added into the purchase, but that he was hoping it could be included in the original package without an additional cost.

The county is hoping to have the new software in place by April 15.

Harrell said that he would like to see a demonstration of the new program’s capabilities and Roberson said he would arrange a demonstration for the board.