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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • County Board Contemplates Tech Advances

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  • During their meeting Tuesday morning, the Watonwan County Board heard a presentation from RtVision regarding e-timecards for employees of the county's highway department, approved a bid for a heating and cooling unit in the county's I.T. room, and discussed a Prism grant application. According to a cost-benefit analysis by Watonwan County Public Works Director Roger Risser, the e-timecard system would save a bookkeeper 10-16 hours per pay period (two weeks). This would result in approximately $5,800 in annual savings. Furthermore, it would save a maintenence foreman trips to out-shops to collect timecards roughly one trip per pay period--saving about $700 per year--save paper time books--savings of roughly $500 annually--and would help ameliorate concerns of the state auditor regarding inventory items being entered into the wrong account and unit measures not being applied consistently across the board. RtVision's Mark Rood said 31 counties in the state already utilize the system, and it integrates into a county's payroll system, thereby eliminating manual entry and errors. It doesn't only keep track of time, however; it can also track inventory use and other needs. The total annual benefits would be $7,000, but the total first cost would be $17,537, plus $3,420 in annual costs, according to Risser and Rood. If computers weren't needed at out-shops, the total first price and total annual costs would drop to $14,437 and $1,020, respectively. Don Kuhlman, county auditor, asked whether the system could be used by all county employees, rather than just those in the highway department, and Rood said that many other counties have done so. Rood said the version those employees would use would also be cheaper and more basic than the version the highway department would need, because they're not tracking as much, and it's much less complex than highway department staff. For details on the rest of the county board meeting, please see Thursday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.
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