By ED HOWELL
The Walker County Commission voted Monday to go with a Pelham software company, as county officials have said residents and officials can get better online service to renew tags and licenses.
Commissioners were impressed in September with a software presentation by Ingenuity, Inc., which proposed a secure, web-based software program used by governments across the state and proposed by the Probate Judge’s Office.
Probate Judge A. Lee Tucker said Monday the new online system will be more cost-effective for the county and “more friendly” to local citizens in the way of purchasing tags online.
“Everyone I’ve talked to is very impressed with the company,” he said, noting that in the future the system could possibly lead to kiosks and satellite offices, if not in the initial contract.
Tucker said he liked the system would be backed on on the cloud instead of on servers that would have to be replaced by S&W, which would save the county money.
According to the contract, the program will cost $24,000 in the first year, $27,600 for the next year of service and $31,800 a year after the third year. The third year had initially been discussed to be $39,000. The contract can then be extended in one-year increments.
The county will also pay an additional $30,000 implementation fee to cover initial services and expenses, including the initial database conversion, system implementation, training, testing and related travel. Half of that fee will be due by Dec. 15 and the other half by Dec. 1, 2020.
S&W Computers is charging about $41,000 a year, and Integrity would offer more service, officials have said.
The Revenue Office has also signed off on the system, as has County Administrator Robbie Dickerson.
“In the long run, they are going to be cheaper than what we pay S&W,” District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said, adding that the item was included in the Fiscal 2020 budget. He also liked the long-term ideas of kiosks and satellite offices, saying that would help the citizens.
Tucker said the system will make it easier to share information between offices online.
Rick Hayes, the president of Ingenuity, Inc., told the commission in September that the company’s business is nationwide, and that as of Jan. 1, 2020, the company will serve 31 customers on a registration and licensing application, including seven of the 10 largest counties.
In other action, the commission:
• Heard Tucker thank the commission for its help concerning elections and other improvements at his office.
• Heard Dickerson reported that the Lincoln life insurance policy will be going up in cost, and local officials are looking at all of their alternatives. More information will be announced later.
• Heard Dickerson remind everyone that the county’s Holiday Toy Drive is now underway and that donations of money, toys and labor are appreciated. District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said several hundred families are helped each year.
• Heard County Engineer Mike Short note the state will have specific requirements for the Rebuild Alabama funds to come from the increased state gas tax. Bids are expected to be received later in the week for materials such as hot mix and asphalt to use for road projects to be funded with those revenues. He said he is looking at bidding for other related needs, as part of an effort to get the county prices on repaving projects.
“We will be able to legally spend the Rebuild Alabama money like it is an annual bid. It would meet all the requirements,” he said.