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Village of Coal Grove approves new software purchase

Fears of paying $10,000 in back fees to state lifted

 

COAL GROVE — Since saving money is a top priority for local villages, it may seem that updating computer software would be low on the to-do list.

For Coal Grove, it was outdated software that nearly cost the village $10,000 in fees to the state.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the Coal Grove Village Council approved the purchase of a new software system for the mayor’s court.

The update comes after the village found out it had been paying $5 too little for each traffic ticket where fees were owed to the state. Part of the court costs from each moving traffic violation case where there are fines goes to the state. The fee was raised an additional $5 at the end of 2009, but village officials said they were never notified of a change.

State auditors caught the discrepancy while auditing another village.

Councilman Bob Self said the village “dodged a bullet” when the state decided not to collect the debt.

Mayor pro tem Juelda Collins said Coal Grove wasn’t the only one to not be notifed of the change.

“They assumed some of the responsibility,” she said. “We weren’t the only ones.”

At the time the village found out about the discrepancy, Police Chief Eric Spurlock said if the mayor’s court software was up-to-date, the notification of the fee increase would have been automatic in the software’s system.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Collins gave council a rundown of the new software system some of the village office employees had picked as the most user-friendly.

“If they are happy with it, I wouldn’t care to go a head and do that,” Self said.

“I agree too,” said Council man Bob Markins. “There are different programs out there and some of them aren’t user friendly.”

The cost of the software is $9,100 and included eight hours of training and installation. For installing in July, the village would get 90 days of free tech support and a prorated amount of $241 for the rest of the years. Subsequent years of support would be $1,447 each.

Collins also said there is an option for a $2,000 online docketing and ticket payment module. That would also include an $80 monthly fee.

“We are in a technological world,” Collins said.

Collins said the software should be installed in July.

In other business:

Council declared an emergency and suspended the rules to approve ordinance 07-12 street improvement bond renewal.

The renewal is a yearly payment of $10,000 plus interest to repay a bond taken out to pave roads and buy equipment. About $40,000 is left to pay on the bond.