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Williamsport mayor: Tech makes budgeting, info access available in 'real time' | News, Sports, Jobs

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Mayor Derek Slaughter is interviewed in his offices recently in Williamsport. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun Gazette

Mayor Derek Slaughter says computer software is available that can help provide instant access to financial data that is accurate.

The technology that he wants to see used, especially for City Council during budget sessions and throughout the year, could be purchased and implemented soon.

The financial software is a part of the overall financial strategic strategy being implemented in a program approved by council through the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Recently, the council approved the purchase of laptop computers for its members and the city clerk – equipment that can be digitally aligned to work with this financial strategy.

Benefits of having current data at the fingertips of council and the administration is when the officials are making key decisions regarding taxes and finance. The good part about the program is DCED bears the 70% of the cost of software, Slaughter said in a recent video interview.

The information will be up-to-date and give the public a chance to review it.

“It has a forward-facing component so the citizens or anyone can see in real time where we stand related to finances,” Slaughter said.

Its implementation is pending council approval and approval from DCED, he said.

Meanwhile, the city’s finance and checking accounts of the past are being reconciled and continue to be reviewed by Tracey Rash, an expert on fixing municipal government financial matters who is with Government Finance Solutions. Rash specializes in helping municipalities to make their finances accurate and who was hired under a temporary agreement ahead of the budget season.

Rash regularly keeps in touch with the controller, and treasurer and recently gave a recent update to council on her work that began when the former interim finance director was no longer employed in mid-summer.

Rash has been working on behalf of the city since mid-August. It was for 120 days or when her services reach an $85,000 cap and would then be reviewed. She has reconciled numerous accounts and found various errors that have been rectified and continue to be.

Also, the human resources department appears ready to go with its new computer software, which, for personnel matters would obviously be less interactive, but which is to have an employee portal that will help city workers to more easily interact with their questions on their benefits and other issues.

The overall upgrades of technology is part of the administration’s goal to bring the city up to the 21st century, to get the city finances reconciled and accurate as possible and to be transparent with taxpayer dollars and city activities, he said.

The work is done in conjunction with Kris Black, information technology officer.

Black has routinely briefed finance and other council committees, as he asks for approval for purchasing the equipment and updates the council members on its estimated cost, benefits, use and functions.

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