Grovetown officials say they're hoping the city's water billing woes will be a thing of the past by midsummer.
At a city council meeting n April 9, officials agreed to spend nearly $85,000 on new computer software that will replace a system that officials say has been highly troublesome.
"I am so glad," said Vicky Capetillo, a utility billing supervisor, of the new software from CSI Technology Outfitters, based in Greenville, S.C.
Capetillo said the city had used a DOS-based water-billing system until July 2005, when a new system was installed. Billing on that system from a Buffalo, N.Y., company began in February 2006 and has caused nothing but problems, she said.
"It has not gotten better. One particular area has given me trouble since day one," Capetillo said of the problems that were originally expected to be worked out in only a few months. "It is not taking readings. It is not calculating. It is not doing anything."
The software has caused more than double the amount of paperwork and has required Capetillo and her staff to continue working on the old DOS-based system.
"It is like buying a car that is a lemon," City Clerk Shirley Beasley said at the meeting.
The Buffalo company's customer service was not what it was promised to be, she said.
Mayor Dennis Trudeau agreed the program did not perform as promised and supported buying a new system.
"There's no doubt we got a bad investment with that first system," Trudeau said at the meeting.
Capetillo said she hopes to have the new software installed and staff trained for the May or June billing cycles.
"We want it to be in here for mid-June," Capetillo said.
The CSI billing software includes staff training and a company representative on-site for assistance during the first two billing runs.
The new software performs other city billing functions including those for payroll, budgets, work orders, occupational tax and permits for construction. The system also interfaces with handheld utility meter readers.
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