Right now those paying their tax bills at the courthouse are experiencing a bit of a wait, the result of a struggle with a new software package rolled out by the county.
"They have been working for more than a week to get our receipts to quit taking three to five minutes to print," Becky Fields, county treasurer, told the county commission Nov. 21. "In the time that I can be waiting on 10 customers using our prior software, I am stuck on the receipt and I can not move forward in the computer until that is done."
Fields and her office have been working with the software vendor — Computer Information Concepts — to fix the problem. But as she does, a tax deadline is looming in December. That has her fearful of what her office might become.
"I have nightmares of people lined up down Main Street," Fields said. "It is taking more than double the time to process one customer."
Fields told the county that at one point on Friday a receipt printed quickly, with technical support on the phone. However, that solution didn't hold and Monday the office was back to long waits.
Other departments have also been using the software, and some have "seen new efficiencies" according to county administrator Anthony Swartzendruber.
Monday commissioner Chip Westfall offered one solution, though he acknowledged it is not a fix for the problem.
"I know that the computer has to run its cycle, but if they have to go, mail out the receipt," Westfall said.
In 2016 the county chose a new tax/payroll software. In total, the initial cost for the new software program will be $289,837, with about $64,000 in annual costs included in that total. CIC has been operating in Kansas since the mid-90s and operates software now in 62-plus counties.
"We were the first county that CIC worked with that was a Citrix foundation county," Anthony Swartzendruber said. "Part of our contract says that they will work to make sure it works for Harvey County."
The county has not signed off on the final contracts.
In other busness the commission:
• Approved a bid letting for eight vehicles for the Harvey County Sheriff's Department.
• Appointed Wayne Valentine of Newton to the Public Building Commission.
• Approved the 2018 holiday calendar for county employees.
• Approved changing the driver's license fee to $5 for both in-county and out-of-county residents.
• Heard a report from the Food and Farm Council.
• Approved the purchase of a low boy trailer for the road and bridge department. The final cost of the trailer was not set.
• Approved a contract with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for fish management at the county parks.