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City Treasurer Karen Burtis discusses the pruchase of new Enterprise Resource Planning software at an April 5, 2021 city council meeting. The software purchase as approved on a 4-3 vote.

SHERIDAN — A two-year-long discussion reached its end Monday as the Sheridan City Council narrowly approved the purchase of a new Enterprise Research Planning software for the city with a 4-3 vote.

Enterprise Resource Planning software is used to manage the day-to-day business operations of an organization, including accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance. The city’s existing software is two decades old, according to city treasurer Karen Burtis and is beginning to show its age.

The city agreed to purchase Tyler Technologies’ Enterprise Research Planning software, which was selected by staff based on a variety of factors including capabilities and functionality of the software, the company’s responses to a questionnaire, city staff ratings and pricing.

According to Burtis, the efficiencies created by the new software will allow city officials to take on other duties previously outsourced including water billing.

“I think we’re going to find, because we have so much efficiency with the lack of redundant data entry over multiple systems and then checking that data, we’ll have more time on our hands… to pull something like that in-house,” Burtis said.

 “We think this can result in opportunities for the city to potentially bring some of these services back,” Sheridan City Administrator Stuart McRae said. “We are very much looking at that to try to be as efficient as possible and low-cost as possible.”

The new system will cost $315,000 for initial setup including implementation, data conversion, new cashiering equipment and first-year software user fees, according to Burtis. After the initial setup costs, the city will pay an additional $139,016 in yearly software fees. The council agreed to a five-year contract with Tyler Technologies.

That cost was of concern to Councilor Jacob Martin, who said he wanted to ensure all his questions were answered before he agreed to a five-year contract.

Martin moved to table the purchase until city attorney Brendon Kerns could learn whether Tyler would reimburse the city and restore data in a data-loss situation.

“I want to get with the times and have the efficient software,” Martin said. “But for half a million dollars and six figures per year after that, I would like to know the liability and if there will be backup and reimbursement if something were to happen. I would just like council to consider having that (information) before signing the contract.”

Martin’s motion failed for a lack of a second. Councilor Aaron Linden included a clause in his motion requiring Kerns to inform the council on his findings regarding Tyler Technologies’ liability in a data-loss situation. However, the wording of Linden’s motion allowed the five-year contract to be signed before Kerns could report his findings to the council.

“My intent for the motion is that we make the purchase because this has been ongoing for quite some time,” Linden said. “It’s crucial that we get this ball rolling.”

The software purchase was approved on a 4-3 vote with Councilors Martin, Kristen Jennings and Steven Brantz voting against the motion. 

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