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County to get software upgrade

August 07, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County residents might one day be able to pay their water and sewer bills online and with credit cards, tasks that could be done with features included in $702,357 upgrade to the county government's financial software system.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the upgrade of its PeopleSoft software, a package that was purchased for $2.8 million in 1999.

The county purchased the PeopleSoft package to avoid any Year 2000 problems.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said by phone Wednesday the commissioners have not yet voted on the credit card or online billing options, but he thinks the board eventually will approve such a move.

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"I think the consensus is that they want to go forward and get more up to date," Snook said.

Snook said other counties in the state offer similar online billing options to utility customers.

As part of the service, county utility customers would be able to access their accounts online and view other financial information and options.

Commissioner John C. Munson said in a phone interview Wednesday that the upgrade will make the county's financial operations more efficient.

It also will help the county make the transition later this year from a weekly to bi-weekly payroll, Munson said.

But he said he wasn't sure whether he agreed with the idea of allowing utility customers to pay their bills with credit cards, because the county would have to pay a fee to credit card companies for the service.

He said the commissioners have not yet been told what that fee might be.

Munson said he didn't know whether there was a demand from customers to pay their bills with credit card or online.

"I haven't heard anybody say a thing about it," Munson said.

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