PITTSFIELD — Town officials are working to find permanent solutions to ongoing problems a vital software program that handles essential municipal duties such as tax collection and budgeting.

Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said progress has been made on the software issues after company representatives from TRIO software attended a council meeting Tuesday and then met with local staff Wednesday.

“We were very pleased with their attitude in wanting to dedicate the time to these issues,” Ruth said.

Brenda Kelly, director of customer success at Harris Local Government, which runs the TRIO software, said 475 customers use TRIO programs — meaning the majority of towns in Maine use the software. The version of the software Pittsfield has used for many years was operating with a Microsoft platform, Kelly said, but in recent years Microsoft will no longer support that system.

So the company did a backend upgrade to the software, moving information to a new server, but keeping the user side the same so customers would not see a difference. Then Harris began working on a new web version of TRIO, which would have the same server on the backend, but would have a new user interface.

Pittsfield had been using the old Microsoft version, and upgraded to the web version with the new user interface in August. About 80 customers have upgraded to the web version, Kelly said, as the company works out any bugs and continues to transition customers over.


The town uses nine programs that are a part of the TRIO software product line, including programs used for tax collection and town budgeting, according to Ruth.

But town staff say they have experienced a variety of problems since the switch, Ruth said, and councilors have expressed frustration about the ongoing difficulties.

Ruth said issues included problems with tax revenues, water bills and completing the budget in December. And while some of these problems have had work-arounds, the manual fixes still take additional time from town employees.

There was some confusion at the Tuesday council meeting, as Ruth and several councilors said they did not know Kelly was attending. Kelly said that she was unaware of Pittsfield’s issues until recently, and that none of the problems had been escalated, but Ruth said town employees were told by customer service that several issues had been escalated.

“We would like to understand the issues that have been noted and work together with the town to resolve these,” Kelly said Tuesday.

Ruth and other town employees met with Kelly and TRIO representatives Wednesday to discuss the issues in more detail. Ruth said the meeting was successful and progress was made.

Town employees now have a new protocol for notifying TRIO of new issues that arise, instead of trying to stay on the phone while serving residents in the town office. At the meeting a TRIO staff member was able to recreate all of the issues the town was having, showing that there was a development problem involved, not just user error. Ruth said those issues will be brought to the TRIO development team to create a permanent solution.

“Permanent fixes to those malfunctions are going to reduce staff time and my time working on the temporary fixes and reconciling things,” Ruth said. “So I would say we were very pleased with the meeting and the ability to work through those issues with the vendor.”

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