No Card Payments In Berlin During System Upgrade

BERLIN – The Town of Berlin will not be accepting credit card payments as its new utility billing software is installed.

Beginning July 4, the town will not be taking credit card payments for a period of two to three weeks. Customers who need to pay bills will have to do so with cash or check.

“We expect it to be shorter but we want to give ourselves plenty of time,” said Laura Allen, Berlin’s town administrator. “It’s a temporary inconvenience for a long-term benefit.”

In May of 2015, the town council agreed to spend$162,795 with Tyler Technologies for a new financial system. For much of the past year, the town’s finance department has working on getting the new system up and running. One of the final parts of the process is upgrading billing software.

“The Tyler product is something we’ll grow into,” Allen said. “It’s a pretty robust system.”

While Allen admits changing systems is time consuming, the new billing software and the financial system as a whole are expected to bring several benefits to the town. Allen said the system the town had been using was simply not conducive to efficient financial management. Specific reports couldn’t be generated and accounts couldn’t be flagged.

“We outgrew it,” she said.

The new billing software should make things easier for town staff as well as residents, according to Allen. Once the change is made, customers will be able to better understand their bills.

“We’re making the bills easier to read and adding usage charts,” she said. “Also, the new software has a more flexible online account portal.”

Allen said that while notice of the two to three week period the town wouldn’t be accepting credit cards was short, the town had released the information as soon as it was available.

“We’re trying to get the word out,” Allen said. “We’re sending letters. The timing is tight but it’s the soonest we knew exact dates.”

While the system is being upgraded, the town will be accepting payment with checks and cash.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams says he believes the temporary inconvenience will be well worth it in the long run.

“We believe in a process of continuous improvement in Berlin,” he said. “Not all change is easy, even the change you initiate.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.