Reynoldsburg residents may soon pay their water bills and register for parks programs online if the city council approves new accounting software for the staff.
The city purchased the current software it uses in 1982, City Auditor Richard Harris said at the Jan. 9 city council committee meeting.
The company from which Reynoldsburg purchased the Dos-based software informed the city that support for the program would discontinue within the next three years, Harris said.
Harris began researching new software options with the help of Mark Kipp, the city’s superintendent of water and wastewater.
Kipp’s involvement was necessary because water bills are integrated into the software, Harris said.
After investigating 20 companies, Harris and Kipp narrowed the field to three software providers, Harris said.
The three companies presented their software for the staff to try, he said.
The staff preferred New World Systems (NWS) with a price tag of $470,000, Harris said.
With the NWS software, residents could pay their utility bills online and eventually register for Parks and Recreation programs online as well, Harris said.
With monthly online billing, the water department would have less delinquent payments, equating to approximately $200,000 more annually in the city’s coffers, Harris estimated.
Councilwoman Leslie Kelly said she approves of online program registration.
"I would love to be able to sign-up my two kids for parks and recreation programs online," Kelly said. "That will be great when that happens."
Additionally, the human resources department would no longer file payroll by hand and the city would transfer money electronically rather than by issuing checks, Harris said.
City Attorney Jed Hood said city council, with a two-thirds vote, could waive the state requirement for competitive bidding and hire NWS.
Harris asked the council to approve a bond not to exceed $475,000 for the new software.
In other business, Harris asked council to revise the city investment policy to allow his office to purchase bonds and certificates of deposit with terms longer than two years.
The Reynoldsburg Treasury Investments Board (TIB), comprised of Harris, Hood and Mayor Brad McCloud, recommended that council allow as much as 25 percent of investments to extend to three years and another 25 percent of investments to extend to five years.
At least 50 percent of the city’s investments would involve two years or less, Harris said.
The TIB met in September with financial advisers who recommended that the city vary its portfolio to take advantage of higher interest rates once the economy improves, Harris said.
The advisers receive a commission every time the city invests; therefore, they would earn income more frequently if Reynoldsburg continues to invest in two-year increments, Harris said.
"They’re in there telling us, ‘Don’t pay me a commission because I’ll make more money in the long run,’" Harris said. "That has a little bite to it."
The city would stagger the investments so that each quarter a different bond or CD would come due, Harris said.
The TIB did not approach the council earlier to change the investment policy because former Finance Committee Chair Ron Stake was against the proposal, Harris said.
The council will hear the first readings of the new accounting software and the investment policy at its Jan. 11 meeting.
The Reynoldsburg City Council committee assignments are as follows:
Community Development – Leslie Kelly (chair), Barth Cotner (vice chair), Chris Long and Nathan Burd
Safety – Mel Clemens (chair), Chris Long (vice chair), Fred Deskins, Nathan Burd
Service – Doug Joseph (chair), Nathan Burd (vice chair), Barth Cotner, Chris Long
Finance – Fred Deskins (chair), Doug Joseph (vice chair), Mel Clemens, Leslie Kelly