Yearly Archives: 2020

What Utility Customers Expect in the 21st Century

There are some things we love about the “good ol’ days.” Like calling a phone number and speaking to a person, face-to-face interactions with customers, and a cup of plain black coffee. We find that most of our customers like these things too.

But as technology becomes more predominant, not just amongst the younger generations but all generations, it’s important that our agency—and yours—keep up with customers’ changing needs.

Is your utility billing software keeping pace with the 21st Century? If not, it may be time to consider moving your utility billing needs over to a software system that has all the enhanced features your customers have come to expect: automatic bank drafting, online statements and payments, enhanced reporting, real-time record updates, and the ability to query based on a variety of criteria. Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, Utility Billing | Comments Off on What Utility Customers Expect in the 21st Century

Big Data for Small Cities

US House Passes Moving Forward Act in a Bid to Improve Local Broadband Infrastructure

As a part of their Rebuild With Us campaign, the National League of Cities (NLC) announced that the US House of Representatives recently passed the Moving Forward Act, a bill designed to increase federal investment in broadband infrastructure on a municipal level. While the bill also includes investments in public safety, broadband consumer protections, affordability and digital equity, there is a significant focus on new provisions to help smaller cities that might be struggling. These provisions include building new or updating existing broadband infrastructure, allowing more flexibility when it comes to investing in local broadband, and prioritizing connectivity for rural areas. Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on Big Data for Small Cities

The Purpose of Governmental Budgeting

The budget preparation process is an opportunity for an agency to collaboratively set and meet financial goals. So what may seem like a bunch of never-ending numbers on a spreadsheet is actually much more: a plan of action for the future of both the agency and the community it serves.

Since many of our clients are actively participating in preliminary budget preparation right now, we thought this would be the perfect time to discuss the four goals of the budget process to highlight why it is so important.

The Four Goals of the Budget Preparation Process

1. Establish Goals to Guide Future Decision Making

The first step of budget preparation is to create a set of budgetary goals. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency | Comments Off on The Purpose of Governmental Budgeting

Cities Are Essential

According to the National League of Cities (NLC), despite the massive spending bills passed by Congress designed to aid states in battling the coronavirus outbreak, “there has been no direct aid provided to the majority of cities, towns and villages.” This is particularly concerning considering that the frontline for subduing the effects of the virus occurs primarily at the local level.

While businesses are beginning to reopen across the nation after a long shut down, local governments have continued to provide essential services because, as James Inman, City Manager for Bessemer City, NC notes in Southern City Magazine, “the water has to flow.”

Things might seem like they are getting back to normal, but the economic impact of coronavirus shutdowns cannot be understated for local governments. Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities | Comments Off on Cities Are Essential

Workforce Confidence Index Poll Reflects Both Optimism and Worry

According to a recent Workforce Confidence Index poll conducted by LinkedIn, most people have an optimistic view about their ability to effectively work remotely, while a slightly smaller portion thinks their entire industry can. This is good news considering remote work is expected to stay, even as states slowly roll back economic restrictions due to COVID-19. The highest rates of optimism are found, unsurprisingly, in the software and IT sectors, followed closely by finance, media and communications. Public administration employees rank somewhere in the middle while tourism and retail bring up the rear. The results also show skepticism in other industries with an emphasis on in-person interaction, such as healthcare and manufacturing. Read more >

Posted in Latest News, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Workforce Confidence Index Poll Reflects Both Optimism and Worry

How to Effectively Work from Home

While opportunities for telecommuting and remote work have become more prominent within the tech sector over the last few years, working from home is now a reality for many. This digital reinvention of the workplace can be a jarring transition from regular office life, but it doesn’t have to be.  

Unlike in Japan, most American tech workers are uniquely positioned, both logistically and culturally, to easily work from home due to increases in the availability of cloud technology and access to home Wi-Fi and personal computers. Efficiency, however, can be an issue. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to keep efficiency high or even increase it. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe | Comments Off on How to Effectively Work from Home

The Importance of Civic Engagement Now More Than Ever

According to the National Research Center (NRC), data collected by the National Community Survey over the last 15 years shows that nearly 80% of residents expect their governments to provide opportunities for community engagement. But with most government offices closed and employees working from home due to the spread of COVID-19 and the adoption of social distancing guidelines, attending a board meeting or town hall is virtually impossible. The timing couldn’t be worse either since civic engagement is now more crucial than ever. As Senior Vice President of Innovation at Polco, Michelle Kobayashi, tells the NRC: “finding ways to connect with people when they are socially isolated…gives people a sense of empowerment…a sense of things they can do to make them feel like they have some control over the situation.”

Luckily, 90% of American adults are active online and the amount of public sector organizations using online tools to gather feedback is on the rise. Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on The Importance of Civic Engagement Now More Than Ever

Bringing Our Best to Overcome Adversity

The world has always been crazy, but we live in truly unprecedented and uncertain times. There’s no need to beat anyone over the head with current events because it’s obvious that life is exceptionally tough for a lot of people right now. Yet, while it’s easy to focus on how bad things are or wonder how they could get worse, one thing is certain: trust is key in getting through this pandemic. Not necessarily trust in “the system”, but trust in ourselves, each other, and the tools we use to make life easier.

Amidst the chaos of the news cycle, there are a few examples of this crisis bringing out the best in the corporate world. Read more >

Posted in Latest News | Comments Off on Bringing Our Best to Overcome Adversity

Don’t Let Credit Cards Manage You

According to Fundera, 70 percent of consumers prefer card payments, and credit cards account for a third of all card purchases. Unsurprisingly, the amount of daily credit card purchases is expected to continue increasing over time. While government employees only account for a fraction of all credit card purchases, as the amount of credit card purchases increase, local agencies will have a ton of credit card purchase information to monitor. Luckily, Black Mountain Software offers a convenient way to document, track and report employee credit card activity with ease and efficiency: Credit Card Manager.

Credit Card Manager is an add-on module available for Accounting that keeps all credit card information in one secure place so transaction information can be viewed on the fly. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, BMS Products, Office Efficiency, School Software | Comments Off on Don’t Let Credit Cards Manage You

Will Electronic Voting Improve or Hamper an Already Fragile Process?

Tablets, phones, and mobile devices are everywhere. We use them to read, take notes, and even place orders at restaurants. Their portability and ease-of-use have helped them become a vital part of everyday processes in the private sector. And while the public sector has traditionally been slower to implement new technologies, the convenience of mobile devices has spurred government agencies into readily adopting them. The corresponding increase in efficiency and transparency has even led to public agencies incorporating mobile technology into council, board, and committee meetings; making it easier to record minutes, disperse agendas, and share information. But could the same technology be used for voting? Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Will Electronic Voting Improve or Hamper an Already Fragile Process?

Stay Connected with Black Mountain Software

If you sign up for Black Mountain Software emails, about 4 times per year you will receive a special email designed for organizations like yours that are not already Black Mountain customers. We won’t clutter your inbox, and we will provide information relevant and helpful to you. And don’t worry, your email address is never sold or given out to third parties.

Select the Email Updates You'd Like to Receive:

Other Ways to Stay Connected:

Subscribe to the Blog Subscribe to City Clerk Cafe Connect with LinkedIn
Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Connect on YouTube