CARES funding for nonprofits also approved

Wyoming City Council approved the framework for a new city computer operating system as part of a meeting held virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

In 2019, city staff began the process of evaluating the software the city uses for fund accounting, sales, time cards and payroll operations. 

“We continue to have [software] problems with crashes, and [problems] with support as well,” City Administrator Robb Linwood reported to council at the Sept. 1 meeting. “So we began to evaluate different softwares that could handle those functions as well as bringing the utility billing in-house, and would include human resource functions as well.”

He noted that the city currently uses a third-party billing service for its utilities payments that must be supplemented by city staff. He also said there are issues with accuracy and timely data entry.

Linwood said that during the analysis process city staff also looked into a community development suite for planning and zoning issues as well as software that would help the building department deal with inspection services.

After assessing the city’s needs, Wyoming city staff evaluated three software vendors that could provide the necessary systems: Civic Systems, SpringBook and BS&A. Based on software performance and costs, staff presented BS&A, which is based in Bath, Michigan, as the vendor of choice for approval by council.

While the BS&A software system had the highest initial cost of $147,050, its annual cost of $11,150 per year for the next 10 years was by far the lowest total. As a result, the 10-year cost of $247,400 was the low bid on the project.

Wyoming Mayor Lisa Iverson asked what the cost savings to the city would be if utility billing moved in-house. 

“We pay anywhere from $30,000 to $35,000 per year for their services,” Linwood said. “There would be a considerable savings to bring that in house.”

Council unanimously approved purchasing the software from BS&A at an initial cost not to exceed $147,000. Council also approved an agreement with Abdo, Eick and Meyers, the Edina-based accounting firm that provides support for the city’s financial services, to help the transition to the new software at a cost of $21,500.

“I think this will allow a smooth transition to the new software,” Linwood said. “We don’t anticipate any issues for our residents; we may potentially have a brief interruption, but we really want to make sure [the transition] is quick. We hope that [any interruption] would only be for a day or two, and we plan to communicate when we take down the one system and transition to the new one.” 

CARES aid for nonprofits

Wyoming City Council took another step toward the distribution of funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act when it unanimously allocated $30,000 of grant aid toward nonprofits in the city.

In August council approved a collaborative grant process with Chisago County’s Housing & Redevelopment Authority/Economic Development Authority to disburse the funds and earmarked $60,500 in aid for that effort.

Federal guidelines state that funds can be used for “necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not accounted for in the budget prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and only incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1 of this year.”

The HRA/EDA recently announced a program to assist local nonprofits in the same way. Wyoming city staff identified 10 nonprofits in the city that would be eligible for the grant, which has a ceiling of $10,000, based on current guidelines.

“We have more nonprofit organizations in town, but the place of operation is not ‘brick and mortar,’ and that’s one of the criteria for the grant,” Linwood said.

Chisago County has earmarked $1 million in aid to nonprofits around the county and would pay 70% of the qualifying amount up to a maximum of $10,000. Since Wyoming, which would pay the remaining 30%, has 10 qualifying nonprofits, its maximum allocation of CARES Act dollars would be $30,000.

Labor meeting set

Wyoming’s contracts with the Law Enforcement Labor Services and International Union of Engineers both end this year, and the IUOE has sent a proposal for a new contract.

City Council moved to hold a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9, starting at 6 p.m. to discuss labor negotiation strategies for the IUOE.

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