Ebensburg to get new software

EBENSBURG – Borough Manager Dan Penatzer told council Monday that it needed to move into the 21st century.

He presented council with suggestions for about $30,000 in necessary software and server upgrades which, he said, will save staff time and reduce human error in billing and paperwork.

Fulfilling open-records requests and providing documents to auditors can sometimes be difficult when an office doesn’t store information digitally, he said. Staff now must scavenge for documents to make physical copies. And some older records may be harder to find.

After assuring Councilman Dave Kuhar that funds were budgeted for the purchases, if not in the general fund then as a capital improvement, council approved the purchase of a $5,000 record-storage system from Advanced Office Systems, seven desktop scanners for $6,000 and a large-format scanner for $4,300.

Council also agreed to update the borough’s utility billing software, which Penatzer said had become outdated and difficult to use.

The new software will be purchased through Muni-Link for $2,500 plus a monthly fee.

Penatzer said Muni-Link already is used by larger systems – including Cambria Township Sewer Authority and in Altoona – and is stored in a “cloud,” meaning on remote servers accessed online rather than on the borough’s server to save space.

The data are backed up regularly and includes e-billing options for residents, who can access and pay bills online if they choose to.

He estimated the utility software will cost the borough an additional $3,200 annually even factoring in postage savings, but said the “ease of operation” is key. It will be easier for staff, save time and reduce the potential for human error.

Lastly, the borough also agreed to purchase a new network server for about $12,000.

Penatzer said the current server is about seven or eight years old, and users are having difficulty connecting to it. The server needs to be replaced before other technological upgrades, such as the new scanners and software, can be installed.

Penatzer said the new technology should solve a host of problems for the borough and help government operations run more smoothly.