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City launches utility billing upgrade after short delay

Elizabeth City Utility Customer Tyler Technologies

An Elizabeth City utility customer gets his receipt after paying his bill on Monday at the city's satellite office on Griffin Street. Citing "electronic interface" issues, the city delayed implementing its planned utility billing system upgrade until early Monday evening.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Citing problems with "electronic interfaces" such as credit card readers, Elizabeth City delayed launching its new billing system until early Monday evening.

The problems with the new Incode software from Tyler Technologies concerned interfaces with the software, not the software itself, City Manager Rich Olson said Monday prior to the launch.

For months, city staff maintained that they planned to launch the Incode system to replace the now-former billing system, Logics Classic, on Monday, June 10.

Switching billing systems is a complex and costly undertaking, but Olson and senior management in finance, customer service and utilities have urged it, both to improve service for customers and allow the city to make other upgrades to city utilities.

The city tried to convert to a different billing system provided by Edmunds and Associates almost two years ago, but the effort failed because of various technical problems. The fallout caused major delays in billing, the firing of the city's then-finance director, and months of customer confusion and frustration.

Citing lessons learned, Olson and city department heads have hired more outside help with data conversion and stepped up staff training to try to make the Tyler conversion successful.

Olson said going live late Monday meant bills normally printed on the 10th of the month weren't printed. They should be printed soon and customers should get them by the end of the week, he said. They'll be due on the 25th of the month, as normal, he added.

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