HI accounting software may have to wait

Saturday, July 28, 2012

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Holiday Island's search for new accounting software that will satisfy the concerns of auditors and staff about consistency of general ledger entries may be put on hold until mid-year 2013.

Reporting to fellow commissioners at Monday's work session, committee member Linda Graves said the Ad Hoc Software Committee had met twice and come up with a scope and approach to pursuing new software.

She said the committee decided it would be too time-consuming to document everything the staff is doing with the current software.

"We don't need to know what they're doing now, we need to know what the issues are with what they're doing."

Graves said a lot of the software they will look at comes in "modules," such as general ledger and payroll, "so we might be able to choose some modules and wait on others."

She said the committee would try to find providers in Arkansas or close by so the district has good support.

As for time frame, she said May of next year would be the earliest that is most feasible for the staff.

"Trying to do it at the beginning of the year, staff felt it wouldn't work. They are closing out year end, month end and preparing for the audit, and then also making dual entries into the old and new system. They're swamped and don't have time."

She said delaying it until next year could also make money available in the budget.

She suggested implementing general ledger in May and payroll in July. The district currently pays $8,000 a year to have an outside company do its payroll for around 30 employees.

Chairman Linda Griswold asked about utility billing.

"It depends on the package we go with," Graves said. "If we go with Centerpoint, Marilyn and Regina feel we should use Intedata for utility billing because it works so well. But the problem is interfacing between softwares. Some packages have utility billing."

Commissioners Ken Brown and Ken Ames said the district should have one software that does it all.

"We shouldn't pay $8,000 a year," said Brown.

On other agenda items, the board:

* Discussed how to notify residents when there will be road closings due to construction or emergencies. Road Department Superintendent Kenny DeHart said signage is used, along with flaggers and vehicles with flashing lights as needed. The road paving contractor will provide these things during paving work, he added.

* Heard Fire Chief Jack Deaton talk about the emergency alert system. There are two different systems: one sends out an email; the other a text message, with the latter costing 25 cents per message unless a user has an inclusive plan. The text messaging has been tested on both Verizon and AT&T accounts and works well.

* Heard District Manager John Kennedy say he has spoken with the Carroll County Community Foundation about setting up a Holiday Island Foundation for people to make bequests and gifts to support the district, and they are willing to help get it set up.

* Heard DeHart request a road paving program change order of up to an additional $15,000 to the current bill of $268,000. He said the extra will allow placement of hot mix asphalt as an alternative to using a base course of cold patch asphalt or AB-3 gravel. With the change, the entire cost will still come in under the $285,000 budget, at $283,000. Deaton said some weeds will have to be burned as part of the road paving project. His department will follow with a tanker truck and wet the burned areas down.

* Discussed marketing program ideas. The board suggested holding seminars and workshops here and inviting people to stay. Other ideas included opening up the campground to the public and giving away free lots as prizes in golf tournaments. "But what if they don't want it?" asked Commissioner Bruce Larson. "They wouldn't pay their assessment and taxes."

* Heard Griswold call for a discussion about amenities polices and fees. "We did this two years ago and need to do it again," she said. A special meeting has been set for this topic on Monday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. at the district office.

* Heard Water/Wastewater Superintendent Dan Schrader, in answer to drought concerns, say he will set up a test to determine well depth. He said Wells 1, 4 and 5 are being used for drinking water, Well 7 is for the golf course and Well 2 is offline but can be activated. Well 7 could also be used for drinking water but would require some piping work. "We would have to monitor how much it would take from the golf course," he said. "I asked Dan to look into this in case we might need another source," said Kennedy. Schrader said Well 2 could also be used, as recent test results show its radium levels are below allowed maximums.

The board will hold its business meeting on Monday, July 30, at 9 a.m. at the district office.

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