A private contractor is coming back on to ensure city of Jackson employees can operate the city’s water/sewer billing software.
Recently, the Jackson City Council approved bringing on Origin Consulting LLC to train employees to operate the new billing system put in place as part of the city’s $91 million system overhaul.
The contract is not to exceed $76,300, and was approved on a 4-2 vote, with Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote and Ward Seven Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay voting in favor.
Origin was brought on earlier this year as part of the city’s amended agreement with Siemens, to help sort out the city’s water billing backlog, which resulted from the Siemens work.
Siemens was initially brought on in 2012 to oversee the $91 million “energy performance contract,” which included a complete overhaul of the city’s water system.
Chief Administrative Officer Robert Blaine said the new training will include “both a review of the software … and training for all staff.”
Previous training done by Origin was to help billing personnel sort through the backlog, which at one point included some 23,000 stranded accounts.
“This is to train workers to troubleshoot problems with the system, so they’ll be able to use the system to derive solutions,” Blaine said.
As part of the $91 million overhaul, a new automated “customer care and billing system” was installed. The system was put in place, in part, to make it easier for the city to monitor water use and detect leaks, and to make it easier for water services to be turned on or shut off.
However, as part of the initial overhaul, city employees were not properly trained to use the system. Additionally, the new system has experienced several technical difficulties, in part, because of faulty equipment in the field.