Salem adopting use of ClerkBooks to straighten finances

The City of Salem is adopting a new way to organize the books.

At the prompting of city counselor Mary Hoyer, the Salem City Council approved switching from their current system to ClerkBooks to organize their finances during a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

?It may not seem like we have the money, (but) we?ll never figure out why we don?t have the money unless we get our accounting system sorted out,? Hoyer said.

The system will cost the city $3,000, with occasional software upgrades of $250 every few years. The price includes 10 hours of training for city clerk Haylee Stecker and a tutorial with the city council.

The cost for the program will be divided between general funds, water and sewer funds and road funds.

?I talked to a lot of people trying to figure all this stuff out,? Hoyer said. ?Apparently this is the program most small towns use because of the cost.?

Currently, Stecker is keeping track of the city?s finances manually, increasing the likelihood of a mistake, Hoyer said. Not only will ClerkBooks cut down on mistakes, it will be an easily accessible program for anyone in the city clerk?s position to use if Stecker were ever to leave.

Additionally, the council approved changes to Stecker?s office hours. The city clerk will be at City Hall during business hours on Tuesdays and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 11:30 a.m.

In other news, the council will convene for a workshop on Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. with a representative from the Midwest Assistance Program (MAP), a nonprofit that helps small communities.

During a meeting in August, Jodi Hilsabeck, from MAP, briefly discussed her concerns regarding Salem?s water expenses with the council. Hilsabeck recommended the council to consider a 3 percent cost of living increase on an annual basis and to take a closer look at their old water meters to make sure they have checks and balances in place for where water comes into the community.

The council also approved two new members to the Salem Fire Department contingent upon the approval of their background checks and approval of current members of the fire department.

The next Salem City Council meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 2.