By Nancy D. Borst
GODDARD – Paying city bills in Goddard is about to get easier and more user friendly, thanks to new software approved at Monday’s city council meeting.
The council approved acquiring two new modules from the city’s administrative and accounting software provider, GWorks- Simple City Accounting System. The Front Desk module promises an online payment portal for everything from water bills to building permits to dog licenses. Currently residents have to endure a less than friendly online payment option that creates an “accounting nightmare” for the city, said finance director Matt Lawn. The system also will offer the option for customers to eliminate paper bills.
Lawn said Front Desk will allow the city to save the expense of its current public notification software (Everbridge) because the same functionality – bulk messaging to the public via email and text notifications – also will be available with Front Desk. Everbridge costs the city $6,300 annually.
The other module is the HR Hub, which will upgrade how the city does its payroll. Lawn said the city has separate programs currently for timesheets and payroll and those systems “don’t handshake at all.” Staff has to print out timesheets to enter the data into the payroll program. HR Hub will integrate timesheets and payroll.
The current system also is difficult to use offsite, which came to light during the pandemic. The new module will require fewer steps and can be done online from a mobile device or PC. The current system is time consuming and so complicated that it takes months to train back up staff to help the city clerk.
The cost of the two new modules will be $13,360, of which $10,860 is the annual subscription cost. Lawn estimated the city will end up with a net savings of about $2,200 per year after it jettisons old systems.
Lawn said the hope is that in years to come, additional new software will allow the city to transition to an online system for city court payments.
“It would be great to get everything online so we don’t have to take cash at the office,” he said.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a resolution to amend industrial revenue bond agreements for Dove Estates Senior Care and Dove Estates Memory Care. The amendments will lower the interest rate for both issuances, which will provide savings for the facility. Industrial revenue bonds are not city or public funds. IRBs are a “pass through” financing option that allows for low interest bonds financed by a lender to fund private development.
• Received and filed the city’s winter weather response plan, including emergency snow routes and snow removal protocols.
• Held two executive sessions. One was for consultation with the city attorney on matters deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship, including a personnel matter for non-elected personnel. The other was for preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property. No action was taken following these executive sessions.