PILOT MOUNTAIN —After putting off a decision for two weeks, the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners voted to accept the recommendation of Town Manager Amanda Reid and purchase a software and service package from Southern Software.
“This software is for every function in this town, doing books, payroll, water and sewer, it is a total package,” Mayor Earl Sheppard said.
Reid had suggested the board move to Southern at a meeting two weeks ago, but board members wanted to collect additional information after seeing the price tag of $26,784 as an upfront fee as well as an annual fee of $3,508.
After reviewing three such programs — QS1, Southern and Harris/ICS — the board voted to move to Southern.
It had been using Harris since 2005, and it only provides water and sewer system software. Reid provided a report that showed the town has spent $70,553.94 since May of 2005 with Harris. The company bills the town annually for $5,726.25 in support fees, but then any additional services — whether it be training, running reports or changing any utility data. In five years, the town would spend $28,631.25 with Harris in just support costs.
QS1 would charge the town $1,000 in upfront costs, but then the annual support fee would be $12,237, giving a five-year annual cost of $61,185, according to Reid’s comparisons. However, the town checked with Dobson officials, who had been using another software company, went to QS1 and then moved to Southern, about the reasoning behind the switches.
“Josh (Smith, Dobson town manager) was with City Pack,” reported Commissioner Dwight Atkins. “He said the software was just not good, so they went with QS1, and he said he wouldn’t wish QS1 on anyone else.”
Dobson moved to Southern Software, which is based in Southern Pines, and Atkins said, “He said it is user-friendly, easy and they didn’t have to buy the software. He was very high on Southern and using it.”
The five-year average annual cost for Southern will be $17,540. Reid told commissioners that “our savings will be substantially higher in personnel, paper, (and) time,” with the town recouping its costs in two to three years.
Commissioner Cordie Armstrong moved that the town purchase Southern Software and authorize Reid to execute the purchase. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Linda Needham, and passed unanimously.