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County approves $25,000 computer system assessment     Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 18, 2004]  The hardware and software contract for the county computers is up at the end of this fiscal year, which comes at the end of November. New government requirements keep increasing and necessitate a new system of accounting. Research has begun for the best new system that will handle the many changes imposed mostly by state and some by federal mandates.

The financial and tax systems fall most prey to those changes. The three offices directly affected are those of the tax assessor, treasurer and county clerk.

The system will not only need to meet new accounting requirements, but will also need to handle the flow of information between other departments as well.

The state will be requiring a listing of property assets and equipment depreciation next year. Other government mandates, such as more public access and disclosure requirements, also precipitate the need of a new system.

A local computer professional is acting as consultant for the project. Patrick Doolin of Integrity Data was first contacted to do an overview of all the computers in the various county departments. Doolin was then hired to coordinate the effort to find a software vendor to perform a needs assessment.

Doolin said he contacted Microsoft and got their recommendation of vendors that specialize in government needs. They recommended a company called Tectura, which has a regional office in New Berlin, Wis. He has met with a couple of their specialists and familiarized them with the Logan County departments and offices.

The specialists from Tectura will come back here and work with the various departments and learn what their specific needs are during the assessment. In their analysis they will look at the flow of information between various departments and then coordinate a package that includes hardware and software.

 

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Doolin will continue to interpret and monitor the project. The assessment should be completed by mid- to late September, Doolin said. He will help recommend staying with the current software company, going with Tectura or someone else.

Tectura proposed an assessment, which includes hardware and software needs, at a fee of $25,000 with 50 percent down and the remainder paid in increments.

Finance Chairman Chuck Ruben said that he anticipates the final cost of the new system will be between $500,000 and $600,000 over a five-year period. There will be some additional costs if the county changes vendors. It seems we are going to have to buy county information back from the current software company, he said.

In support of the assessment, County Clerk Sally Litterly said that the software system will be used for payroll, tax ministration and to pay bills -- all county financial matters.

"An assessment will prevent you from buying things you aren't going to use," Doolin said.

[Jan Youngquist]

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