Local municipality procures $32,000 software upgrade from U.S. firm

by Keith Corcoran

Taxpayers in the Municipality of Chester are spending nearly $32,000 to have a U.S.-based firm provide installation, licencing and first-year support to upgrade scalehouse computer software at the Kaizer Meadow solid waste management facility.

Paradigm Software, L.L.C of Maryland secured the $31,858 bid, which was authorized during a recent meeting of municipal council.

The existing software at the Sherwood facility was about 14 years old, custom developed on a Microsoft Access database, and now considered obsolete.

"The program occasionally crashes requiring Information Services support to bring the system back online," Dan Pittman, the municipality's records management and quality control coordinator, said in document presented to council.

Vehicles pass over bidirectional single-lane deck scale in order to enter and leave the facility.

"Weights, types and sources of incoming waste are recorded by the scalehouse operator in the scalehouse software system," reads Pittman's report. "The operator is also responsible for collecting tipping fees, preparing slips and invoices, and generating various reports using the scalehouse software."

The system processes approximately 5,000 transactions per year.

"I would say we are in a fairly high-risk situation by continuing to use that software because we don't know what time it could fail and not be retrievable," Pittman commented to council. "It's long overdue for an upgrade, replacement."

The software is renewable annually and available for several years at which time there's another opportunity for renewal at a discounted price, Pittman said.

Allen Webber, the municipality's warden, suggested there was little doubt the purchase was needed.

"We have to able to track the tonnage, otherwise we can't send out accurate bills," Webber said.

The municipality will boost service capacity by deploying features in the new software that automate data entry and enhance electronic record-keeping and reporting, Pittman said in the report to council.

More computer upgrades

IMP Solutions recently received a $98,000 deal to supply new laptop and desktop computers for the municipality, replacing existing computer equipment.

"As part of our computer replacement program, desktop and laptop computers are replaced on a four-year cycle, with funding provided from the IT Equipment Reserve," Cliff Gall, the municipality's director of information services, said in a report to council.

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