Yearly Archives: 2021

New Webtools are Now Available for Creating and Evaluating State Redistricting Efforts

With the 2020 census numbers recently released, rising populations in Montana and several other states will eventually lead to additional congressional seats within the U.S. House of Representatives. Before that can happen, though, each state must undergo a complicated redistricting process to ensure the new congressional districts are drawn to accurately represent constituents without devolving into partisan gerrymandering. While this may seem like a tall order in today’s hyper-partisan political climate, three organizations have already developed powerful webtools that allow anyone to draw new districts according to a variety of criteria. Cooler yet, many states are allowing citizens to submit their evaluated proposals for consideration in how new districts will be finalized. Read more >

Posted in Latest News, Technology | Comments Off on New Webtools are Now Available for Creating and Evaluating State Redistricting Efforts

More Jobs, New Blood, and Adaptation in Public Education

With the 21-22 school year fast approaching along with increased anxiety over the uptick in COVID-19 Delta variant cases, there is a silver lining to a looming, potential storm cloud. Namely, that despite significant job losses for public education in 2020, the US added 943,000 jobs in July—220,000 of which were in local education—according to a report cited by American City & County from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has led to an influx of ambitious and optimistic teachers and education programs determined to showcase what school districts have learned in the past year and how they continue to adapt to ongoing pandemic-related challenges. Read more >

Posted in Back to School Tips, Latest News, School Software | Comments Off on More Jobs, New Blood, and Adaptation in Public Education

Local Governments and Blockchain: A Match Made in Digital Heaven

Despite niche interest outside of the cryptocurrency community during its inception in 2008, blockchain technology is starting to go mainstream as local governments explore new ways to utilize the digital ledger system for improved security, efficiency, and transparency.

This is because blockchain technology offers an easy way to track and verify digital transactions. For example, each taxpayer to pay their property taxes to the county through the blockchain would have their payments logged as a unique “block” containing encrypted transaction information and timestamps. Each transactional block would also contain information referencing the block that preceded it (known as a cryptographic hash function). Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on Local Governments and Blockchain: A Match Made in Digital Heaven

With Cyberattacks Still on the Rise, Security Solutions Abound for Utility Districts

With a recent report from the FBI showing a 69% increase in cybercrime between 2019 and 2020, it should come as no surprise that such attacks cost US governmental entities just shy of $19 million last year. Most worrisome is that these attacks have not only increased in frequency but in intensity as well, targeting vital aspects of American infrastructure—from oil companies to police departments. Perhaps one of most concerning instances, and one that seemed to fly under the radar, is the water plant that was hacked in Oldsmar, FL back in February.

Hackers managed to find a way to exploit a remote-access loophole that allowed them to increase the amount of lye (used to manage pH levels) fed into the water system. Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, Cloud Computing, Latest News, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on With Cyberattacks Still on the Rise, Security Solutions Abound for Utility Districts

More Funding for Infrastructure Means Broadband, Water/Sewer Improvements and Jobs

With the American Rescue Plan Act that passed in March, the Treasury Department has begun to set aside $350 billion in emergency funds for qualifying states, local and tribal governments. Among other things, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to support public health costs, ameliorate the negative socio-economic effects of the past year, and perhaps most importantly, invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Broadband infrastructure investments are particularly timely after a year that saw dramatic increases in both remote work and overall data usage. According to American City & County, over 30 million Americans currently do not have access to high-speed internet, especially in rural areas. Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Comments Off on More Funding for Infrastructure Means Broadband, Water/Sewer Improvements and Jobs

Schedule, Manage, and Track Better Than Ever

Issuing and tracking permits, as well as scheduling inspections, are integral parts of a city’s ability to enforce municipal codes and ensure construction is completed according to current safety standards. Without these regulations, our cities would be a mess, which is why we offer a robust and fully integrated permitting application to assist in performing this vital process.

Black Mountain Software’s Permitting is a standalone application that makes it easy to maintain detailed property information. Once a property is added, permits can be issued according to local zoning ordinances, which includes automated fee calculation to save your entity and employees valuable time. Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Comments Off on Schedule, Manage, and Track Better Than Ever

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