News Report Staff

Effingham City Council approved the purchase of new computer software Tuesday that will offer better tracking of finances, not only by city staff but for city taxpayers as well.

City Clerk Kelsey Lock and Treasurer Caitlin Phillips reviewed the benefits of the $188,934 purchase of Tyler Technologies, Inc., software for handling city administrative tasks. An annual fee of $69,070 is also part of the agreement.

The Tyler package is cloud-based and offers more virus protection. There will also be free upgrades. The public will also have a chance to look over city finances on their own computers or electronic devices.

“There will be more tracking of finances,” said Phillips. “And it offers more transparency for citizens so they can see how tax dollars are being used.

The software purchase will straddle two fiscal years with a wide share of departmental funds plus some Tax Increment Financing revenue spent on the contract. The vote on the purchase was unanimous with Mayor Jeff Bloemker and City Commissioner Kevin Willis and Kevin Esker voting on the resolution. Commissioners Merv Gillenwater and Don Althoff were absent Tuesday night.

The council also agreed to a software purchase from Data Management Inc. for updating the payroll process with a time-keeping and employee attendance feature. The cost is $30,738, plus an annual fee of $7,859. Another vote on technology covered $9,644 through Consolidation Communications for eliminating communication problems at the Effingham Fire Department.

In addition, the council also approved resolutions on different Public Works projects, including a $32,000 agreement with Civil Design, Inc., for replacing old cast iron water mains with 8-inch plastic mains. City workers will complete the work on the mains, as well as replacement of hydrants at six locations on the north side of Effingham.

Commissioners also accepted a proposal of Sandschafer Electric to furnish and replace four submersible pumps at the Henrietta Street Lift Station at a cost of $25,780. A low bid of $20,388 from Effingham Asphalt will cover work at the Four Seasons Water Detention Basin Project on the city’s south side.

The city also recognized Public Works employee Mike French with a Special Act Award for going beyond his regular duties on Jan. 23 when different residents were facing sewage backups. French assisted with cleaning up the backups.

The Business Appreciation Award was given to Stang Arts for seven years of giving back to the community. One example of this community support involved Stang’s after-school art program that involves giving back to local schools. Jamie Stang accepted the award and also recognized the hard work of some of her staff present for the Appreciation Award presentation Tuesday night.

In other business, the council appointed Brad Meinhart to the Effingham Plan Commission. He will fill a recent vacancy on the Commission. The term for that seat expires on May 1, 2019.

An entertainment and event venue liquor license was issued to Walnut Street Weddings LLC, which is located at the Austin Mansion. This license allows alcohol consumption sales only and eliminates the need for special liquor permits for customers of Walnut Street Weddings. A similar license is active for Harley Davidson Legacy for its different events throughout the year.

A cleaning agreement with ESS Clean Inc. was approved for 12 months for the cleaning of City Hall and the Effingham Police Department under the same terms and conditions of the expiring agreement. ESS has handled cleaning services for the city the past two years.

The city administrative assistant position is being modified for duties under the classification of the Mayor’s assistant. The council approved the change with its new job description.