Category Archives: Small Cities

Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

A recent Gallup poll shows Congressional approval at an unprecedented historical low of seventeen percent. There’s an endless amount of reasons one could posit as to why that is the case—political dysfunction, legislative gridlock, corruption, a lack of transparency, and virtually everything in between—but regardless, the level of distrust in governmental institutions is growing and even trickling down to the state and local level, which is frustrating for both elected representatives and their constituents.

Before we all sharpen our pitchforks, fire up the torches and start a revolution, though, there is a silver lining worthy of note: a growing trend of public institutions willing to share their financial data with the citizens they serve and a panoply of technological options to do so. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Comments Off on Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

Helping You Adapt to Change

The only thing that’s constant is change.

Regulations change, reporting requirements change, and technology changes, too. Within the past few years, we’ve seen a number of reporting requirements change–from the Montana Public Retirement System to Federal Affordable Care Act reporting. These changes are frustrating for clients. It means new reports, more data entry and a system to check for errors. But we are determined to ease that pain, to the best of our ability, by creating add-ons to our software and updating our systems whenever there are new mandated compliance requirements for our clients.

How BMS Software Eases the Pain of Changing Compliance Requirements

  • US-based support.
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    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Government Accounting Standards, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Helping You Adapt to Change

    8 Signs You Are Close to Retirement

    There is a rapidly aging demographic in the workforce, and city clerks are no exception. In fact, when we surveyed the 700 City Clerk Café members in 2013 to find out more about them, a staggering 80 percent were over the age of 40.

    With retirement looming for many city clerks, and retirement planning for the future on the minds of the remaining city clerks, it seems relevant and timely to discuss what being “ready” for retirement actually means. So, we’ve put together a list of eight signs that could mean your days basking in the sun under a palm tree are nearing. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 8 Signs You Are Close to Retirement

    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 BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Comments Off on USDA Allocates $4B for Grants and Low-Cost Loans

    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 City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Small Town Story: West Fargo, ND

    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 City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Some of The Best Places in Montana to Visit

    Welcome to Colquitt, Georgia

    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. But with the help of a big city director she met at a leadership retreat, they found an unconventional way to reinvent and save their town: Swamp Gravy, a play comprised of local stories that celebrated Colquitt’s way of life, named after a stew-like dish with fried “fish drippings” and whatever happens to be on-hand. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Welcome to Colquitt, Georgia

    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 | Comments Off on The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

    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, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand Over Cemetery Management

    Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

    Natural Disasters. Hackers. Malfunctions. Disgruntled Employees.

    These are just a few of the things that could lead to a data disaster and put your agency at risk of being unable to recover sensitive and necessary information.

    Our data can feel safe, locked away and backed up on a server. But there are still plenty of risks that can be avoided by moving data to the Cloud. That’s because with the Cloud, there is no one single place the data is stored, making it less vulnerable to the following risks.

    Risk Factors to Data

    Natural Disasters

    In the event of a natural disaster, any data stored on a stand-alone computer or server is vulnerable to loss. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

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