Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

A year after the town of Franklin announced plans to automate the town’s bill paying system, the new feature is now available. The announcement was made via social media last week, and when new water and sewer bills began arriving in the mail, residents were given instructions on how to pay the bills online.

“The Town of Franklin is pleased to offer our residents and business community a new convenient and secure way to pay your water bill,” the town said on Facebook. “Save time, a stamp or a trip to Town Hall by utilizing this new online bill pay service. Simply follow the link on our website”

To pay water and sewer bills online, residents will need a new account number and last amount paid. According to town officials, the new bills will be in the mail and will feature the new account information.

The new online bill paying system is part of a technology upgrade approved last fiscal year to improve the town’s software provider, which was changed from CSI Accounting-Plus to Tyler Technologies. The change not only upgrades the existing 17-year-old-system, but also made online bill pay available.

Prior to the online option, checks could be mailed in for the monthly bills or residents could stop in at town hall to pay the bills in person with cash or check. The office has never accepted credit or debit cards and there hasn’t been an online option to pay the bills.

While residents can now pay online, checks and in-person cash payments will also still be accepted. “The bills will be more like a Duke Energy power bill,” explained Woodard last year. “Residents will also be able to easily pay their bills online, which is something we have had a lot of requests for.”

The town of Franklin budgeted $161,445 for the software upgrades in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

“The upgrade will benefit town residents because it will allow resident to pay their bills online and it will also provide numerous services to department heads that are not available in the town’s current software,” said Woodard when the decision was made in 2016. “One example is budget prep. Currently all budget prep is done on Excel and Word documents.”

Tyler Technologies Software specializes in financial management and property taxes to courts and education software. Their focus is to make it easier for local governments and schools to manage their complex, day-to-day business functions.

For more information on the change, contact town hall at (828)524-2516.