HUDSON – Big changes could be ahead for the systems that manage Hudson’s financial and human resources departments.
Officially known as the MUNIS system, the town would implement software from Tyler Technologies and streamline how it does business.
“We’re pretty fragmented in terms of how we run our operations within finance,” Finance Director Neil Vaidya said during a Sept. 11 Select Board meeting.
He pointed out an old memo he discovered from Aug. 30, 2019, that was addressed to the Select Board about the then-treasurer collector leaving. In this memo was the statement that “our financial management software is old and fragmented, and we do not utilize some labor-saving technologies.”
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The idea is to introduce the concept of Enterprise Resource Planning, which helps run one’s entire business, according to Vaidya. It would support finance, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain services, procurement and be “a one-stop shop for everything accounting-wise,” he said.
Currently, Hudson has financial accounting software, but it also uses seven different programs to gather information. Vaidya gave the example of payroll running on a different software platform than the one the school department uses to pay vendors.
He said any information from the school department has to be imported into the current accounting software. The motor vehicle bill collection is outsourced rather than collected by a primary collector from the town.
“What Tyler Technologies aka MUNIS will do is bring all that in house,” Vaidya said.
He noted the presentation for this was timely as there is a draft motion for an article at the Fall Town Meeting on Nov. 20.
The new system will “speed up a lot of things,” he added, which is good for a town like Hudson that has grown very quickly in terms of finance. Vaidya said the current system does not cover the needs for what is done on a regular basis.
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He said, “I have an article that I’ve put on there in order to move funds in order to support this. It’s definitely a worthwhile project to do, and it’s got a lot of merits.”
Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory explained that when he files a budget in December for the Select Board, he has to estimate a number for free cash. Going forward with MUNIS, there is the benefit of being able to have a known free cash number in December or January.
He said this would allow the town to “really plan and spend a more appropriate figure on where the need is.”
Gregory added, “There is some really significant benefits here.”
He recommended that the investment in MUNIS, which falls into the $1.1 million to $1.2 million range for implementation, come from stabilization in full rather than free cash. The amount will be transferred from the Stabilization Fund and then replenished the following May.
Gregory said it is something “I’m confident we’ll be able to do” as there was a $6.8 million free cash number going into the Annual Town Meeting this year and $2 million of that was appropriated. The remaining $4.8 million combined with departmental turnbacks and revenue will restore the original number.
Select Board member Michael Burks said, “That’s a good step, going to MUNIS, if it is the current one, and it’s upgraded to the systems.”
He did note there would need to be individual training for each department to understand how to use MUNIS. Vaidya said there is built-in additional funding for onsite training per the suggestion of Chief Information Officer Eron Dilo.
Vaidya called it “a big endeavor” with a nine-to-12-month learning process. He said the sooner the better to “get the ball rolling” on the project as it will take three years to fully implement everything.