Poplarville to investigate modernizing city computer system

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

popPoplarville’s city government will move its computers to the modern era, the Board of Aldermen decided Tuesday.

City Clerk Jane O’Neal told the aldermen she had researched bringing in more modern computer equipment and software with other cities and got a unanimous recommendation, a firm called BBI Inc. in Flowood.

“They came highly recommended by everyone I talked to,” O’Neal told the Board.

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The aldermen voted unanimously to authorize her to negotiate with BBI.

The software suite that BBI offers centralizes a system for payroll, personnel, licenses, court fines, and even time management.

The current Poplarville system is cobbled together from various systems and antiquated, MS-DOS-based software, some of it more than 20 years old, O’Neal said. The package she is looking at would include a server and at least desktop computers.

“This is an integrated system that posts in real time,” O’Neal said.

“Only 16 years after getting into the 21st century, we’re doing this,” City Attorney Nick Thompson said to laughter from the aldermen.
O’Neal said that she is researching a handheld device for use by meter readers that would replace the current system of “pencils on paper,” something that weather occasionally spoils.

The council had budgeted $15,000 from the general fund and $15,000 from the water department, and the city could finance it by putting down $7,500 from each source and paying $1,368 a month for 36 months at 6 percent interest, O’Neal told the aldermen.

“We can pay for that by the $30,000 in savings we’re paying the various vendors now” for software licenses, she said.

In other business, the Board agreed to ask Jason Lamb, an engineer with Walker & Associates in Hattiesburg, to come meet with the Board in two weeks to discuss what might be done to the land around the Fire Department to allow more parking should the city go forward with plans to move the Police Department into the Fire Department’s current site.