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Oyster Bay to spend $4 million on upgrading computer accounting system

Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on

Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on Oct. 21, 2010. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The Town of Oyster Bay preliminary 2015 budget includes $4 million in capital spending to update an information technology system for the town comptroller's office.

The spending would be part of a five-year capital investment that started in 2012 and which Oyster Bay Comptroller Robert McEvoy said would total about $25 million. The program was initially proposed at $31.8 million but has been revised, he said.

Next year's spending would be part of a phaseout from an old IBM accounting system called AS/400 to Microsoft Dynamics AX. The town implemented the new accounting system at the beginning of the year, and the 2015 project is expected to add new functions and integration between departments when it's fully operating in 2016.

"It's at a point where there's just so much analysis to be done and the support from IBM on the older system is dwindling," McEvoy said. "It's time to replace that with a new modern system."

The new system will tie in many aspects of the town's activities -- from highway work and workflow to inventory and personnel. "It will tie in payroll and everything else, it will bring everything into one system," McEvoy said.

The way the system codes information automatically will make financial reporting easier and more efficient, he said.

About $400,000 of the spending will be for servers and the rest would go toward software customization and training. The overall $25 million information technology plan included installation of fiber optic cables among town offices.

The system will not consolidate and track the more than 200 contracts the town has with vendors.

A December audit by the state comptroller's office reported that Oyster Bay "needs to improve controls over construction projects and contracts for goods and services."

McEvoy said he had not been asked to add a system to track contracts, which are recorded on paper and not put into a master list.

"Right now we're trying to get the basics in before we put in bells and whistles," he said.

The town board must vote on its $41 million capital program and $278.4 million operating budget by Nov. 20.

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