The city of Cody has been experiencing significant software issues that could impact its ability to put together the budget for next fiscal year, city finance officer Leslie Brumage told the city council during its Jan. 10 work session.
She reported having “some big issues” with Caselle software, which the city currently uses for all of its accounting functions, including utility billing, municipal court, asset management and materials management.
“Essentially [Caselle is used] for all of our administrative and accounting functions,” Brumage told the city council.
Three years ago, she explained, the city switched to Caselle’s hosted option, whereby a third party hosted the city’s data on off-site servers. City staff would then connect to those servers through the internet.
The problems began when Caselle switched to a different hosted platform in October of last year.
“We just installed it for all our administrative offices about three or four weeks ago,” Brumage said. “And, all of a sudden, they were having some big issues,” including programs crashing, the inability to get back into the system without resetting passwords and programs not responding.”
“We can’t run reports. We can’t export to Excel anymore. We can’t send our data to Caselle for evaluation if there’s issues,” she added.
Brumage said she had to go up the company’s chain of command to find someone willing to deal with the city’s issues.
“I had to go to ... the vice president basically to get somebody to listen to these problems,” she said, “because they just weren’t fixing it.”
But, time is running out, she added.
“The problem is, as far as our budget goes, and if the budget module isn’t working, it’s going to create issues for our staff in trying to get the budget prepared in time for council approval,” she said.
Brumage offered a solution — using a company called ClearGov, which is completely Cloud-based — for the budget.
“You will not have to go through a third party host server for it,” she said. “We could get to it directly from the internet, so that would eliminate those problems we have.”
Brumage also recommended switching back to a client server, which would cost $30,000.
“The recommendation is that we transition back to a client server format,” she said “That would require the purchase of a server, the software and the licensing.”
A client server, Brumage explained, means the city’s data is stored on a server located onsite rather than data being hosted by a third-party.
“We would save about $13,000 a year in what we’re paying for the hosting service,” she told the council, adding that it could take anywhere between two and 10 months to get the new hardware and software installed.
“It’s possible we could still get it in before the end of the fiscal year,” Brumage said. “If it looks like it’s not going to come in until after July 1, we would include it in the next year’s budget.”
Brumage said she’s already started the process with ClearGov, and she expects it to be fully implemented by March 1, “which is just in time for us to start our budget.”
After concerns from council members about the cost, Brumage said the city has enough funds for it.
“In this budget year, the council did set aside money for general capital improvements and technology replacement, [and] not all those funds were appropriated,” she said.
The city currently has $4 million in the general capital improvements fund and roughly $450,000 in the technology replacement fund, Brumage told the council.
With a staff direction, the city council gave Brumage the green light to purchase the needed equipment, but with the understanding that either a budget amendment would need to be approved by the council for this fiscal year or the cost would need to be implemented in next fiscal year’s budget.