Ratings deadline looms for councils

Local councils are moving to update software devoted to municipal functions to meet new ratings requirements and better take advantage of developments such as e-commerce.

Local councils are moving to update software devoted to municipal functions to meet new ratings requirements and better take advantage of developments such as e-commerce.

Auckland City Council is making initial moves to replace its 13-year-old local government software. The regional councils of Auckland, Wellington and Waikato, meanwhile, are closer to buying up-to-date ratings systems to meet new legal requirements.

The Local Government Rating Act broadens regional council rating powers but also requires that from July next year bills include details about how rates are calculated.

Councils’ existing ratings systems may not be able to cope with the added requirements.

Auckland City uses Geac’s core local government Total Corporate System (TCS) for a range of municipal functions including rating, property information and refuse collection management.

The software has served its purpose well, says ACC business systems manager Peter Blackwell, but it was time to look for something offering fresh capabilities, such as e-commerce.

Council staff are presently carrying out scoping work while the project receives official approval. This is likely at a council meeting a month from now, with installation expected around the middle of next year.

The council has no idea as to what a new system might cost, but Blackwell says it could exceed $1 million.

Auckland Regional Council CIO Tony Darby says the ARC is “in negotiation” with two suppliers and hopes to make a decision a month away, with council ratification by the end of October.

Wellington Regional Council IT manager Steve Moate says the council has shortlisted the most suitable from a proposals tender. It hopes the project can be underway by Christmas.

Environment Waikato is still “in its early stages” of assessing what it wants, says a spokeswoman.

Geac is used by 18 local authorities.

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