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Bailey votes to switch town software vendors

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The Bailey Board of Commissioners added a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to the opening portion of its monthly meeting Monday night before wasting no time getting down to business.

In the first few minutes, Mayor Thomas Richards pointed out to the Envirolink representative who was giving his monthly report to the board that a hydrant identified only as No. 11 was shut off at the street.

“It was leaking for over a year,” said Richards. “They told us it was shut off so it could be fixed, and then they told us it was fixed. The fire department found it still shut off when they flowed the hydrants and if there had been a fire, there would have been no water in the hydrant leaving the fire department to play catch-up.”

Richards also handed the representative a list of hydrants the fire department designated as needing to be repaired.

In old business, the council made the final decision to demolish the hardware store on Main Street that has been in a state of structural and roof collapse for several years. Not everyone in the crowd was happy with the move, but Richards pointed out that to replace the roof and make the building structurally sound, the cost to the town would most likely exceed $500,000, which far exceeds the building’s value even it were able to be occupied. The council unanimously approved the bid by 4 Seasons Demolition of $34,500 to bring the structure down.

Also in old business Town Clerk Kellie Glover told commissioners that all of the town’s computers were running on Windows 7, which is slated to become a legacy system — meaning Microsoft will no longer provide support and patches for software glitches — in January.

“All of the software companies I have talked to have all said the same, that whether we keep our existing software or change companies, the computers will have to be updated to Windows 10,” said Glover. “We definitely need to do this before January 2020.”

With the town’s billing, payroll and tax collection software support contract with Logics Solutions in Raleigh expiring at the end of this month and systems already needing updates, commissioners opted earlier this summer to seek bids from other vendors as well as Logics.

To update the Logics system currently in place in Bailey, the cost would be $5,100 plus the annual support fee from Logics of $13,200, which is due this month with the renewal of the contract. Glover explained to commissioners that another company had recently purchased Logics and that only six municipalities were still using the software, causing the company to downsize to a single technical support person.

Another company, Southern Software of Southern Pines, had done a previous demo for the town and provided a quote without including the tax collection function to replace Logics of $15,592.00 that includes a 20% discount; there would also be an installation and on-site training charge of $7,938. The annual support fee would be $3,508, bringing the project total for the first year to total cost of $27,038. If the tax collection package were added, the total would be $35,133 with an annual support fee of $4,407, substantially less than the annual fee from Logics.

A third company called Public out of Spartanburg, South Carolina gave a quote of $3,179 to install, and $9,840 in annual support fees as well as a $579 annual maintenance fee. After the first year, the annual fee would become $10,419, which does not include tax collection.

Glover told commissioners that the bid from Southern Software would actually begin paying for itself in about two years without the tax system in it.

Glover said the county is already collecting these taxes and fees in most municipalities in Nash County.

“The county charges about 2% of what is collected,” said Glover. “If they collected 100% of the taxes in Bailey, it would cost us $4,230 if the county collected 100% of the taxes. If you added Southern Software’s annual support fee and the 2% collection cost from Nash County. it is still less than one year of support through Logics.”

“I think we would be crazy not to let Nash County take that over,” said Commissioner Allen Daniels. “I’m for going with Southern Software minus the taxes.”

“I will say this: In the few transactions I have had to do on our computers it reminded me of being on the computer in the library in elementary school using an Apple 2E,” said Richards.

Daniels then made a motion to switch to Southern Software, minus the tax collection feature to replace the existing Logics system. The motion passed unanimously.

The town also approved longtime town auditor Anthony & Tabb to conduct the 2020 audit for the town.

In other business, Richards informed commissioners that the town’s recent request for a $3 million grant to get the town off of the wastewater moratorium had come in second place, which left the town eligible for just $500,000 in grants and the balance coming in the form of a loan.

“Knowing that would increase everyone on our sewer system by about $50 every month for the next 40 years, I just couldn’t accept that,” said Richards. “It’s not fair to ask our residents to do that. We will simply keep applying for the full grant until we get it.”