Category Archives: City Clerk Cafe

USDA Allocates $4B for Grants and Low-Cost Loans

Given that we specialize in Utility Billing software and many of our clients live in small, rural areas, we are excited to report that the United States Department of Agriculture has set aside four billion dollars for grants and low-cost loans to improve rural water infrastructure.

The program aims to provide funding for drinking water systems, sewage/solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage for qualified households and businesses in eligible areas, which include most state and local government entities in towns with populations of ten thousand or less, private nonprofits, and federally-recognized Tribal organizations in rural areas.

Applications can be filled out online via the RD Apply tool or through a local USDA Rural Development state field office. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Events, BMS Partners, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Latest News, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Leave a comment

Small Town Story: West Fargo, ND

Black Mountain Software is proud to have been working with the city of West Fargo since October of 2003, and we are all amazed that in the last fifteen years it has become one of the fastest growing and vibrant areas in all of North Dakota. While it’s easy to write off the state as nothing but icy winters, farmland, and the occasional woodchipper, West Fargo (and the greater Fargo-Moorehead metropolitan area for that matter) prove that North Dakota is not only a great place to visit, but also call home.

While just about every town has a historical district, West Fargo’s Bonanzaville hosts a pioneer village and Cass County Museum on twelve sprawling acres with dozens of historic buildings and thousands of artifacts that capture the spirit and charm of Red River Valley and Cass County at large. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Events, BMS Partners, BMS Products, BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Customer Spotlight, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Leave a comment

Some of The Best Places in Montana to Visit

Anyone that knows Black Mountain Software knows we are pretty darn proud of where we come from! Heck, even our name was inspired by our Montana surroundings!

With an office in Polson and handfuls of clients who also share this great state, we thought we’d take a moment to talk about some of our favorite places in Montana. So, if you are lucky enough to live here, maybe we will spark an idea for an adventure. If not, maybe we’ll give you a reason to come visit. And if you do, don’t hesitate to stop by our “mansion on the hill” in Polson; a local landmark in itself. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Reasons Work Breaks Are Important

John Lubbock, author of The Use of Life said, “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Did he perhaps know something we do not?

As workdays grow longer, and the lines between work and home life continue to blur, the need for midday “me time” seems to be ignored. Taking a lunch is sometimes unheard of, so why would anyone take breaks?

While some may frown upon the 15 or 20 minute break from work, many believe breaks are key to continued concentration, focus, brain function, energy, calmness and creativity—all of which are essential to a productive and happy work environment. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Staff, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Having a Bad Day at Work?

“’Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile, and you go for a ride
You had a bad day” – Daniel Powter.

If there were no bad days, there would be no songs about them. But try as we might to avoid them, they happen to everyone. So, if you feel one coming on, it’s ok! Here are some ways you can mitigate it to prevent your bad day from becoming worse.

How to Get Through a Bad Day At Work

Give yourself some space

It’s not always a case of mind over matter. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome to Colquitt, Georgia

“The Spirit Farmer” (aka “The Peanut Farmer”)
on 100 ft. tall Birdsong Peanut Company Silo,
dedicated in 2010, 27,000 sq. ft. mural handpainted
with rollers by Charlie Johnston.

We love a good underdog story, especially when it involves one of our clients. Colquitt, Georgia has a rich history and like many small towns, has had its fair share of adversity to overcome. After its population peak in the 50s, the influx of new technology led to the loss of low-skilled farming jobs and the outsourcing of manufacturing gigs.

By the early 90s, the town was dying and it broke lifer Joy Jinks’ heart. Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Latest News, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Smile On the Other End Of the Line: Good Phone Etiquette

Have you ever heard that a smile can be heard over the phone? We have, and we believe it to be true! And that’s why this week—Customer Service Week (which falls on the first week of October this year)—is a big deal for us.

Not only is Customer Service Week the time of year to celebrate the progress we’ve made providing quality, in-house customer service, but it’s also a time for us to reflect upon the service we provide and determine how we can improve our customer engagements.

While we realize that good customer service should describe every business/customer interaction, because so much of our support comes after the installation of our products and over the phone, we thought we’d focus on one key aspect of customer service: phone etiquette. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Events, BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

Permitting is an important and necessary process for cities and towns that controls and regulates construction to ensure that all work is done according to municipal code. It can be a long and arduous process for both the applicant and the municipality, but it is necessary to sustain the economic interests, safety, and growth of any community.

Why City Permitting is Important:

  • Permitting regulates and controls construction to ensure work meets codes and city ordinances
  • Permitting helps ensure work has been done safely and inspected (if required)
  • Permitting helps enforce safety, convenience, and aesthetic standards for the city
  • Aids in establishing and maintaining property information
  • Helps enforce zoning laws
  • Permitting protects residential and commercial property value
  • Permitting helps track growth and plan for future development of land, utilities, and public services

Though this process is generally a tedious one, Black Mountain Software offers a Permitting module designed to assist and streamline your city’s efforts. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Importance of Continued Education

As fall approaches and children, teens and college students head back to school, consider what continued education could do for you. Even if you think an un-pursued interest of yours—interior design, writing, graphics—has nothing to do with your current work, dedicating time to learning a new skill fosters so much more than what appears on the surface. The very pursuit of knowledge can lead to improved health and overall happiness.

At Black Mountain Software, we believe in the continued effort to sharpen the brain through sustained learning. That’s why we offer a series of courses and publish educational information throughout the year to help our clients gain new skills and create understanding of topics related to technology, accounting, and human resources (check out our Event Calendar). Read more >

Posted in Back to School Tips, Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand Over Cemetery Management

It’s one of those things you never think about until it’s too late: cemetery management.

Often, clients don’t see the need for it until it’s a problem: a plot sold that is not available, a record that needs to be found, or an error that’s been discovered. These mishaps can be tragic for those who assume their family’s generations-worth of  plot records will be properly managed and recorded.

Poor plot management plagues the cemetery industry. Cash-strapped agencies with mismanaged funds have led to a litany of instances regarding incorrect or incomplete recordkeeping, making sacred ground more akin to a battleground. And, if that weren’t enough, these issues are not usually addressed until long after a problem is discovered. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Dashboard News, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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